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The Tempesto

July 17, 2011
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Let me first say that my dad really is, as we always called him, “king of pesto”. I actually still ask for little jars of his pesto every few years for Christmas so I can freeze them and have them on special occasions. I’ve had his pesto on my birthday for almost as long as I can remember. But, armed with a new food processor, I’ve been starting to venture further into the world of pesto myself. I’ve been mainly experimenting with different types of greens: spinach, arugula, and sage have all been excellent!

While I was travelling around Brittany, we ended up spending two nights in a house near Coray owned by a friend of Hélène’s family. They’re in the process of renovating, but still have an amazing kitchen. It was so wonderful to be cooking again! Due to the lack of food processor, this pesto was a little more ‘deconstructed’ than regular pesto, but I actually really liked the effect especially when it was spooned onto the pasta rather than tossed in.

Basil Pesto

Fresh basil (one standard grocery store package was enough for two people), chopped
Olive oil and/or butter (I love the taste you get when you use both)
Parmesan cheese, or whatever is on hand (in France, emmental râpé is super common so we used that)
Good salt (sea salt is another Brittany specialty – it’s very high quality but outrageously cheap so everyone has huge jars of it in their kitchens and cooks with it all the time)
Optional: chopped garlic

For this dish, I recommend using smaller pasta such as little shells, fusili or even macaroni, since it’s harder to pick up the pesto with linguine or spaghetti (it often ends up getting moved around on the plate a lot). Cook this and make sure to salt the water! This is very important, since your pasta won’t be completely covered in sauce.

Combine the chopped basil, approximately 1 tsp butter/olive oil and your salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix together. Add a tiny bit of parmesan cheese for flavour (you’ll add more later).

Once the pasta is ready, serve onto plates then drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Add a dollop of pesto (you’ll be surprised at how little you need to carry the dish) then sprinkle some cheese over top.

Voila, as we might have said at the time, a delicious meal! And not too much fussing around when you don’t have the time or equipment for it.

Make With: Baguette (fresh out of the oven if you can make it yourself), Salad, Lightly steamed vegetables (green beans, broccoli, etc.), Spread on sandwiches the next day, Dollop on risotto

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen Slemon permalink
    July 22, 2011 11:16 am

    Awesome recipe! I surrender my crown!

  2. Allen permalink
    July 22, 2011 4:48 pm

    I absolutely love pesto. Although mostly because I’m lazy I’ve always just bought pre-made jars from stores rather than making my own. I will have to definitely start doing it from scratch!

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