How does basil pesto taste

The art of making a good pesto

If you buy pesto these days instead of making it yourself, it's your own fault. That sounds radical at first, but it is regularly confirmed by independent consumer tests. It was not until the summer of 2013 that Stiftung Warentest examined various pestos again, with a devastating result: namely, none was recommended.

Real pesto Genovese

The term “Pesto Genovese” has not yet been protected in the EU (funny enough, because no correct application has yet been submitted to the licensing authority). Of course, this opens the door wide open for manufacturers - just read the labels. So it is not surprising that there is hardly any good pesto on the market. In any case, I haven't found one yet.

Cheap substitutes for dear money

Homemade pesto is quick to make and tastes far better than bought-in pesto. If that's not enough as an argument to do it yourself, you should really take a look at the consumer label. Here is tricked and stretched what it takes. Instead of the best olive oil, cheap sunflower oil is mainly used. The pine nuts turn out to be cheaper cashew nuts and the good Parmigiano Reggiano is properly stretched with semolina. After all, it should be nice and creamy. The whole thing is being paid for by the producers - pestos are really expensive in relation to the food used.

Only six ingredients in the original

There are only a few ingredients in the original Pesto Genovese: basil, pine nuts, garlic, a good olive oil, Parmesan or Peccorino cheese and some coarse sea salt. Thats it. If you choose a good quality here and pay attention to a few things during preparation, you get a pesto that you can never buy that way. Personally, I only cut back on the pine nuts, but more on that below.

Pesto verde

Homemade pesto verde

So, here is our beloved and widely passed recipe for a really delicious pesto verde. The ingredients are actually the same as in the Ligurian original. I only cut back on the pine nuts personally. I replace these with walnuts or almonds. The reason for this is that pine nuts from the Mediterranean region are simply hardly available here, because they are very expensive due to their harvesting conditions (wild collection). They also go rancid quickly because of their high fat content. The cheaper substitute from China has an even higher fat content and therefore goes rancid even faster.

ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pots of basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 40 - 50 g walnuts or almonds
  • 70 g parmesan cheese
  • 150 - 200 ml olive oil (cold pressed)
  • some coarse sea salt

However, I do not stick slavishly to the quantities given here during preparation, but rather tare the individual ingredients according to my taste. Nevertheless, it has always tasted good until now.

That's how it works

First things first: When making pesto, you should work quickly so that the ingredients can only oxidize a little (react with the oxygen). And no matter whether you decide to mix / puree or use a mortar (a question of faith that I cannot decide here), it should be done quickly so that the oil does not become bitter.

First you pluck the basil leaves from the stems (more rustic types use these). Then put these together with the nuts or almonds roasted in the pan without fat as well as the coarsely grated Parmesan and the other ingredients in a blender jar (you can see, I'm the mix type.) And are briefly pureed with the hand blender. It's nice when there are still little bits left. The pesto can be stored in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator. With a layer of oil on the mass (prevents oxidation) the whole thing will last for a while. I have found a wide variety of information about the shelf life, most of them give about two weeks. With us it is always plastered after a few days.

This is how it looks done: the red pesto made from dried tomatoes and the green pesto with basil.

Modifications

I think you can experiment with a good pesto. In summer, for example, I also like to use shrub basil instead of green basil, because I grow it myself and it is then available in large quantities. The shrub basil is purple and has a more peppery taste and overall spicier than the mild green basil.

Homemade pesto rosso

Instead of basil, I also like to use dried tomatoes or tomatoes in oil for my pestos. Sometimes in combination with olives or capers. If you follow the basic rules of production and use good ingredients, something good will always come out of it. The recipe for a nice pesto rosso is particularly tasty and quick to make.

ingredients

1 small jar of tomatoes in oil or
140 g dried tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
50 g walnuts or almonds
70 g parmesan cheese
150 - 200 ml of the best olive oil
some coarse sea salt

That's how it works

First let the tomatoes in oil drain well. Then you cut them into strips and put them in the blender jar. Then the other ingredients are added and are roughly pureed with the hand blender. As with pesto verde, the nuts can be roasted in the pan beforehand. But it doesn't necessarily have to be. If you only use sun-dried tomatoes, you should also cut them into small pieces and let them steep in the oil before mixing. The same applies to storage as described above for pesto verde: A glass with a screw cap or a swing top is best.

I wish you happy experimentation and bon appetite

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