Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Basil Pesto ala Italia, #recipe from @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl aka Avery:

CONGRATS to all the winners of our 5th anniversary photo contest!  What a great job everyone did submitting photos of their adorable pets, fun libraries, quirky adventures, and delightful bookstores! Next time...kitchens and reading rooms, right! So many categories, so little time.

Speaking of adventure...

A few weeks back, my husband and I were lucky enough to take a dream vacation and cruise from Venice, Italy around the boot to Rome. On the trip, we stopped in Taurmina, Sicily and dined on some of the best pasta with pesto sauce I'd ever tasted. We had found a darling, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, recommended by the cruise director. It was off the beaten path. The wine list was extensive and delicious. And the owner fully understood my gluten-free issue. Wow! Did I mention the gluten-free pasta was divine?

Anyway, I had such a craving for a great pasta dish when I came home, I had to attempt to make the pesto. It was sooooo good.

And, well, (polishing my fingernails on my shirt front), I did!!

This is the simplest, easiest...did I mention simplest?...recipe imaginable.

Cook up some pasta, prepare a side salad, and get ready to feast.



2 cups fresh basil leaves, trimmed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 – 2 teaspoons salt
1 – 2 teaspoons ground black pepper


In a food processor, combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. 

Add the oil and pulse again, until fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

We had some meatballs left over from the night before and I added them to this, if you want a little protein in the meal. Enjoy!

* * *

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  1. I love pesto Daryl--and yours looks authentic and delish:)

  2. Ah, a taste of Italy! I cannot remember life before pesto--it has become a staple in my family's diet. Of course, you have to like garlic, but I have found that a dose of vanilla ice cream for dessert neutralizes it well.

    1. Sheila, really? Ice cream neutralizes garlic? Oh, joy!! Can't wait to try that ;)

  3. Pesto really is one of the wonders of the world!
    If you're lacking pine nuts or don't want to spend that much money, try walnuts. They do a good job.

    1. Libby, I can't do regular nuts. What else could you use?


    2. I use walnuts, Libby. They're great!

  4. Mmmm, I can almost smell the fresh basil! It reminds me of my grandparents' house where they grew tons of it and as soon as you pulled into the driveway you could smell it. We love pesto so this is going on the menu asap!

  5. Mmm, I'm about to make some today, as a matter of fact, probably a triple batch, if I have enough pine nuts. And if I don't, I'll use walnuts. This year I'll make it with garlic from my own garden!

    The first time I made this was in the early 80's. I'd seen a friend buying several basil plants at the herb sale and asked her what she used them all for. Pesto, she said. Food for the gods, she said.

    So I gathered a bunch of basil and proceeded to make a batch, courtesy of Joy of Cooking. And then proceeded to dump the entire batch onto one small box worth of cooked spaghetti. My husband and I were not impressed!! And that was the last time I tried it for a long time, until I had it at a restaurant and realized my mistake.

  6. This is mouth-watering, Daryl! Lovely. And it's great news that people can get gluten-free pasta in Italy. I read that because pasta is such an important part of the culture they had to find alternatives to the wheat-based versions. XO

    1. MJ, the Italians and Swedes are leading the way in this research. They are way ahead of America!


  7. Karen, I think that happens a lot with recipes. I know it has happened to me before! I love pesto but a few years ago when I looked for pine nuts they were hard to find and very expensive. I used walnuts instead, and it came out great.

    Daryl is in transit at the moment but she'll be responding to comments soon.