Let's make "pesto Americano"!!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chrisbelgium, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    In summer, I'm hooked on pesto on ribbon pasta and nothing else to go with it except for an extra drop of great olive oil. And I mean dry pasta, cooked al dente, not freshly made pasta. Autumn is setting in and days get colder, so my basil is as good as gone, especially when eaten by snails this time of year.

    So, I make an alternative with ruccola, pecan nuts, garlic, parmesan, lemon juice and P&S. I start by cutting the pecans roughly and roast for almost 15 minutes in a dry pan on a very mediumlow fire. Don't let them smoke.

    Cut the garlic lenghtwise in 2 and remove the lightgreen-ish core.

    Now get the ruccola, garlic, pecans and a little lemonjuice and p&s in your Magimix or whatever cutter. Add olive oil to turn it into a courselooking paste. Get it out of the cutter.

    Grate some parmezan by hand and fold it in the paste. I noticed that getting the cheese in this way, will prevent the oil from "bleeding" out of the paste, even the day after... It's a little peppery and bitter from the ruccola, even better the day after you made it!

    Then I thought; pecans are so very American, why aren't they used more and presented as American dishes? It's delicious in pesto! Let's make an all american version!

    So here's my 2 questions;

    - Do you have your own pesto versions you would like to share here?

    - If you would make a "pesto Americano", what would be your ingredients/recipe? (No basil please)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I don't know what a pesto Americano would be but I'm sure it would include bacon /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif

    I make a lovely pesto made from toasted walnuts, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, pecorino or parmesan, and olive oil.  I want to introduce a little heat to this pesto but not sure how.

    I never realized pecans were "american."  They have a lovely flavor and fall is when we use them most.  Lovely recipe!
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I almost always substitute pecans for walnuts, both because I like their flavor better and because they are less likely to turn bitter.

    I've done several pesto variations using them. Spinach is always good, for instance. But I particularly like using arugala. For the cheese I prefer pecorino to parmesan.

    Another great mix, particularly with fish, is to use sorrel as the green element, along with pecans, garlic, pecorino and extra virgin olive oil. A little salt and pepper as well.
     
  4. durangojo

    durangojo

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    a few suggestions on adding heat to your pesto...buy whole dried chilies and grind them yourself(coarsely)...i use new mexican chilies...of course you can just buy the crushed red pepper flakes as well, but i would suggest that you buy a good brand, definately not mcormicks or the like...penzeys is great, spice hunter or simply organic...you might want to try a few different brands,as i find that the heat level varies...your health food store might sell them in bulk...you could also make an infused chile oil and add that as a portion of the oil in the pesto....

    joey

    also, a late thought,maybe just some fresh coarsely ground black pepper
     
     
  5. gunnar

    gunnar

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    That's frikkin genius! Bacon Pesto!

    What else is Ruccola called? I am not familiar with the name.
     
  6. durangojo

    durangojo

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    since vacuuming my house always makes me think, this is a short list of some of my 'favorite-ist' pestos that i make alot... a mint pesto for the grilled lamb tenderloin on the menu,an asian pesto((spinach, ginger, thai chile sauce, scallions, small amt.of basil etc.) for our tuna, a tropical pesto( macadamia, cilantro etc.) for fish specials,arugula pesto, cilantro pesto and a southwest sundried tomato & serrano chile pesto(with petite corn), for whatever...i use slivered toasted almonds mostly instead of pine nuts, walnuts or pecans..can't think of what i'd make for an american pesto....caramelized onions and apple? apple & bacon..got to think on that one for awhile...means more vacuuming i guess....maybe something with hot dogs, but that kinda sounds gross...later.....oooooh,a roasted garlic-artichoke pesto might prove yummy...aren't artichokes like totally californian?

    joey

    gunnar, just a guess that the op meant arugula
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    We have all sorts of American pestos, guacamole is just one.  Grind it fine enough and so is ordinary spinach dip.

    Pesto is where you find it,

    BDL

    PS.  Yes, ruccola is argula aka "rocket."
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  8. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    With all the troubles you have finding specialty ingredients you expect us to believe you have access to sorrel?  Just kidding, maybe you grow yourself?  In all my years of living in NY I've never come across finding sorrel.  Maybe I don't know the right place to look.

    Easy now, the bacon was just a joke but it's worth exploring.  It's creative to think up of different pesti.

     
     
  9. durangojo

    durangojo

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    on some level bdl i see your point that everything has the potential of being a pesto, but on the other hand ,i'm not sure that i agree that guacamole is a pesto, at least not a 'true' one, whatever that is, and it certainly isn't american imo, even though we've adopted it wholeheartedly as our own, and seem to put it on everything..is it just a matter of how ingredients are prepared, i.e. mashed, chopped, whipped, pureed etc?....if its ingredients are coarsely chopped wouldn't it be a salsa or a relish or compote and if its of smooth consistency, a dip?...perhaps an explanation of pesto is needed...

    joey
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  10. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Just kidding, maybe you grow yourself? 

    That's exactly what I do, KK. It's a real easy green to grow, and, what I like most, is heat tolerant---unlike, say, arugala, which is a hardy green, and prefers cool weather.

    The only commercial source of sorrel I've ever seen is from a friend who runs a CSA. He includes it in his weekly market baskets. But, given all the ethnic uses for sorrel, ranging from French to middle- & eastern-European, I would think some of the NY green markets might carry it.

    Seems to me, while we're at it, that most greens could serve as the basis for a pesto. For instance, although I've not tried it, if you wanted a bitter flavor, turnip or beet greens would work.
     
  11. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    i'm not sure that i agree that guacamole is a pesto,

    I agree. Guacamole is a dip, not a pesto, and is made with totally different ingredients and techniques. About the only similarity is their color.

    perhaps an explanation of pesto is needed...

    Depends on how precise you want to get. Technically, pesto (which means "pounded") is an uncooked sauce that originated in Genoa. Originally it consisted of basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan. Because pine nuts are expensive, sunflower seeds were sometimes substituted. Nowadays, because of all the variations, the original is often identified as Pesto Genovese.

    More broadly, a pesto is an uncooked sauce that consists of crushed herbs, garlic, nuts, cheese (either parmesan or pecorino) and olive oil. The key to understanding it, IMO, is that it is an uncooked sauce that always includes an herb (or mixed herbs) as the major ingredient, along with a nut, garlic, cheese, and oil.

    Although most of us use a food processor to make pesto, it should, technically, be made with a mortar and pestle. Indeed, the word "pesto" has the same root as "pestle," and for the same reason, as they both refer to pounding.
     
  12. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Guacamole is more than a dip.  It is, more usually, a sauce.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the misapprehension or at the general lack of knowledge when it comes to traditional American foods without European roots.  Guacamole is traditionally prepared by grinding onions, garlic and herbs in a molcajete with a tejolote before mashing in the avacado.

    Just sayin' there's a lot more to "America" than the US of NASACAR. 

    If I've got to color inside the lines, how about watercress, cilantro, parsley, walnuts, garlic and cotija? 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  13. durangojo

    durangojo

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    but guacamole isn't european..its from the latin countries, mainly mexico...play nice and don't insult..

    joey
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Oh well.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  15. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Why not make your own Chili Oil
     
  16. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Guacamole is more than a dip.  It is, more usually, a sauce. 

    Sure, guacamole is often used as a sauce. I don't know about the "more usually" part, but wouldn't argue it one way or another.

    The point is, pesto is based on the herbal component being the major player. The herbs (and other ingredients) in guac are used to flavor the avocado. Going along with your contention, that would make it an avocado sauce.

    Then, too, although there is not rule about it, pesto is most often associated with pasta. When is the last time you tossed your tagliarelle with guacamole, I wonder?

    Just sayin' there's a lot more to "America" than the US of NASACAR. 

    That's certainly true. But it's just as true that there's more to the US than California, and sometimes you wear those blinders kind of tightly.
     
  17. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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      pesto is good. Switching nuts or greens is a great way to vary the flavors.  I even like a pesto with a nice South American flare using Brazil nuts and cilantro.  Another way to vary the flavor, while (otherwise) sticking to a tried and true pesto recipe, is to switch the type of basil.  There's actually such a distinction between different types of basil that they can be made into pesto's that sit beside each other quite well.  I normally grow Genovese, Thai, Spicy Globe and Purple Ruffles.

        DAN
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  18. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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      Oh...fava beans can make a great pesto too, yet not traditional.  

      but gooooood
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    how about watercress, cilantro, parsley, walnuts, garlic and cotija? 

    Why watercress and cilantro both? Seems to me their flavors would be in conflict. But I can easily see the watercress, parsley, walnuts, garlic and cotija. Plus an oil component, of course.

    Which form of cotija did you have in mind? There are two.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  20. gobblygook

    gobblygook

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    BDL, be careful with your interpretation of "America".  Them danged Canucks might start thinking they live in America too /img/vbsmilies/smilies//smile.gif