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Pesto


Mrs. B
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I have a mess o' basil in my front yard and was planning on making a traditional pesto tonight with homemade spinach pasta. Alas I just discovered that I lack pinenuts.

It is too damn hot to get into my car (no A/C :P ) and head across rock creek or down to 14th st WF so I turn to you all for suggestions of pinenut substitutions that taste good and can be found in my local mercado.

Blanched almonds perhaps?

I'd also love to hear about any favorite variations with or without pinenuts.

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I did one with walnuts recently (and a bit of walnut oil instead of olive oil). Very good.

When encountering pesto, I always have to ask whether it has been made with pine nuts or walnuts, because I am very allergic to walnuts. Since many people share this unfortunate affliction, be sure to let guests know, just in case.

My secret for preventing oxidation/browning, which can happen quickly and looks so unappetizing-- I add some lightly cooked spinach with all the water squeezed out, to the basil, garlic, pinenuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil.

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I understand that it is recommended to NOT include the parmagiano if you are going to freeze it, but to add it later. That's what I do, simply because it's what "they" say. I have not firsthand experience of my pesto going to hell because I froze the cheese.

That's the advice of Marcella, who said it over 20 years ago. At least she's the expert who I always abide by when it comes to anything Italian...

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While I love traditional pesto (just basil), I have a fondness for introducing arugula into the mix, and have made an all-arugula pesto. It's bitter at first, but after a few bites, it's addictive. Kind of like taking that first sip of Resina.

I"ll have to try that--I love arugula. I have tried Watercress, and it is also quite addictive.

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While I love traditional pesto (just basil), I have a fondness for introducing arugula into the mix, and have made an all-arugula pesto. It's bitter at first, but after a few bites, it's addictive. Kind of like taking that first sip of Resina.
I've made Giada De Laurentis' arugula pesto recipe from Everyday Italian (it's the same pesto recipe as included in this dish) and thought it was good. I tend to use baby arugula for recipes that use a lot of it, which produces a far less bitter result but it is still peppery. Her recipe calls for no nuts, but I added some toasted pine nuts anyway.
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While I love traditional pesto (just basil), I have a fondness for introducing arugula into the mix, and have made an all-arugula pesto. It's bitter at first, but after a few bites, it's addictive. Kind of like taking that first sip of Resina.

I wouldn't even try to get away with arugula pesto--my husband will not allow a single leaf of arugula to pass across his palate. However, I lightly steam some fresh spinach and squeeze out all of the water and add it to basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese. It keeps the pesto from turning brown. It really works and I hear no complaints from the spinach-haters at my house!

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