Appetizer Week: Pesto (Pasta Salad)

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Keeping things light as we have done the past 2 days with Ya Li Pear Salsa & Raw Cremini Salad Crostini, we’re going to take a more traditionally Italian route with one of the most adaptable fresh sauces/condiments around: PESTO. Not zhuzzed up kale/coriander/spinach etc etc pesto. Just basic basil pesto.

You might wonder why I decided to include pesto of all things in a week dedicated to appetizers. I feel that pesto is something that you can use in a variety of ways. Be it smeared on a crostini or used as dip stirred into some cream cheese to go with crackers or veggie sticks or dolloped on cold meats… The possibilities are endless! If you make a jar of this before any party or gathering, you’ve done half the work already.

Today, I’m choosing to use it in a really really basic pasta salad. It’s super simple, make-ahead possible & everyone loves carbs. FACT.

Regular pesto usually includes Fresh Basil, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Pine Nuts, Parmesan, Olive Oil & Pepper. I’m not sure if Anchovies are traditional but come on… anchovies > salt any day for me.
Pesto 1

I like to give the solid ingredients a quick whirl in the blender to give them a headstart.
Pesto 2

Smoosh in as many leaves as you can!
Pesto 3

Set, GO!!
Pesto 4

This is almost there but I wanted to loosen it up with oil & lemon juice. Plenty of it!
Pesto 5

 Now that’s a good bowl of basil-scented sauce, as versatile as ever!
Pesto 6

Can I just stick that spoonful in my mouth? Yes I can.
Pesto 7

Kinda chunky, kinda not. Just the way I love it. You can keep going on with the blending if you want it even smoother. I like a tiny bit of texture.
Pesto 8

The sauce will separate after a while because of the high ration of olive oil to everything else. Just stir it all up and you’re good as new.
Pesto 9

I had some leftover tomato pasta, canned tune & black pepper bacon. Guess what happened?
Pesto 10

Toss some lumache rigate (shell short pasta) in sauce… Saucy!
Pesto 11

Yes, this is messy. But ohhhh so delicious and fragrant! Suggestion 1: Pesto pasta topped with a tiny bit of tuna & bacon tomato sauce.
Pesto 12

Suggestion 2: Pasta tossed in bacon tomato sauce, topped with tuna & a dollop of fresh pesto sauce.
Pesto 13

Whichever way you use pesto, be it as the main sauce or as the garnish, you’ll never go wrong.
Pesto 14

 How do you generally use pesto? I’d love to know how creative you can get :-).

Also, a certain seafood is going to make its appearance tomorrow!

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Appetizer Week: Pesto (Pasta Salad)
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sauce/Condiment
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: ½ cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves, packed
  • ¼ cup (1 oz) freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese (or a 1 oz cube)
  • 2 tbsp Pine Nuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • ½ tsp Anchovy Paste
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Steps
  1. In a small blender, toss in pine nuts, anchovy paste, garlic & cheese. Pulse 4-5 times until chopped.
  2. Press in basil leaves. Blend until very fine.
  3. Pour in oil, lemon juice & pinch of pepper. Blend until sauce comes together.
  4. Taste to see if it needs more salt & acid.
  5. Spoon out & use as desired.
  6. Can freeze up to 3 months.
Notes
Sine this sauce is made using raw ingredients, use the best you can get.
Make sure basil leaves are properly cleaned & thoroughly dried before use.

Trackbacks

  1. […] had the leftover with a little Pesto linguine the next day and oh, it was sublime. Probably even […]

  2. […] sure you’ve had pesto and loved the spunk it brought to a plan pasta, salad or meat dish. As Italian as that is, […]

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