HowTo Recipes Snack Spreads

How to make an amazing pesto, 3 ways

Pesto is a really versatile preparation: you can use it on pasta, as a condiment for vegetables, or a sandwich. You can also use it as a base sauce for baked pasta like lasagne, and for baked vegetables dishes, even as a pizza base, and many many more. There are tons of pesto variations you could make, here you will find 3 quick recipes plus some smart tips to prepare it, so it will always be a success. It’s also a nice way to incorporate healthy nuts into your diet.

For a quicker preparation I suggest using a high speed mini blender or a mixer to make it, rather than a pestle and mortar.

 

 

Ingredients for 2 servings

  1. Genoese pesto – Traditional basil pesto

For the vegan, dairy-free version:

  • A nice handful of fresh basil leaves stems included, about 30 leaves / 40 g
  • 20 g of pine nuts, it’s also possible to use almonds, or pistaches, or cashew as an alternative
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, in case you prefer to avoid the oil, add water instead, it will help you blend the ingredients
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional:

  • 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast, or grated Pecorino, or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 clove of garlic

 

  1. Sicilian pesto – Red pesto

For the vegan, dairy-free version:

  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, or 1 large tomato, diced. If you want to give it an interesting twist, use rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes instead of the fresh ones.
  • A nice handful of fresh basil leaves stems included, about 30 leaves / 40 g
  • 20 g of pine nuts, it’s also possible to use almonds, or pistaches, or cashew as an alternative
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, in case you prefer to avoid the oil you can skip it completely, the moisture of the cherry tomatoes will help you blend the ingredients
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional:

  • 2 Tbsp of soy ricotta or ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast, or grated Pecorino, or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 clove of garlic

 

  1. Walnuts sauce

For the vegan, dairy-free version:

  • 120 g of walnuts
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 100 ml of soy cream, or cooking cream
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, in case you prefer to avoid the oil you can skip it completely, the soy cream will help you blend the ingredients anyway
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional:

  • 2 Tbsp of soy ricotta or ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast, or grated Pecorino, or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 clove of garlic

 

Method

Place the ingredients for the sauce inside your high-speed mini-blender or your mixer and blend for about a minute, or just a bit longer if you like it smoother. If you prefer to have more texture, just use the pulse function until you achieve the perfect consistency.

 

Smart tips

The traditional kind of pasta for a perfect Genoese pesto is ‘trofie’, if you find them give it a try. They are nicely chewy and funny looking.

If you want to make pesto all’antica, the ‘old school’ pesto recipe, add to the pasta and the pesto some boiled green beans and diced potatoes before you serve. You can boil them in the same pot in which you boil the pasta, adding the green beans and the potatoes first, and then adding the pasta when the vegetables are halfway cooked. Drain them, and add the pesto. You will make it like a true Genoese would!

You can also make your Genoese pesto pasta more interesting and colorful by mixing some slices of fresh cherry tomatoes to the final dish.

If you want, you can fill your pesto with veggies: make a bell pepper pesto using the Sicilian pesto recipe, by substituting the tomatoes with a roasted red or yellow bell pepper, and add some chili pepper for a spicy touch. And you can do the same with steamed beetroot.

You don’t have some fresh basil handy? Make a pesto with fresh parsley for a change.

 

pesto-1912483 (CC0_pixabay.com_Einladung_zum_Essen)

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