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Aug 28, 2006 04:52 PM

A pesto oops. Please help.

My pesto got a little thick and started to separate.

I was making pesto this morning with basil from my garden and all was going well and it was quite smooth. Then, I think I left the blender on too long or something and it started to separate a little.

Ingredients were:

Genovese basil leaves
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Can it be fixed? This has never happened to me before.

Thanks for your advice.

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  1. Maybe take a couple of spoons of it, put it in a dish, add some parmesan and see if that fixes it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      I forgot to say I added parmesan in the recipe. I used both fresh and some powdered (from Italy). In fact, that's what I thought was clumping up.

      I then tried adding a little dry mustard and a splash of lemon juice. It didn't help re-emusilsify immediately, but it sure tasted good.

      I just took it out of the fridge and turned it in the blender again. Problem solved. I guess it got too warm. Now it's cooler and smoothly blended. Can't wait to see how it melts in this dished I make with it.

    2. the marcella hazan calls for adding some soft butter at the end. that might help bring it all together as well. can report on exact quantities when i'm near the cookbook if you'd like.

      rose water (f/k/a freddie on the old board)

      1. Personally I wouldn't worry about it. It's more of an emulsion than a true sauce anyway.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cheryl_h

          True, and now that I think about it, when I save leftover pesto for the next day, I have to stir it up again.

        2. Pesto does separate. Most people add too much oil so that it will melt nicely over the pasta. But they forget the most important thing about pesto - after boiling the pasta, take a cup or so of the pasta water out of the pot before draining the pasta, and use what you need of it to mix with the pesto to get the right saucy consistency while dressing the pasta. That means that your pesto is actually a concentrate that should be mixed with pasta water to be used. Also, you need to add some parmesan to your pesto, imo.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Marsha

            I am sorry I wan't more clear. The "separation" was not just the oil from the blend. But, as I left the blender on, it started "clumping" or separating like a cheese sauce does sometimes.

            Also, (and who would have known) the blender made it a little warm and I thought that caused the problem. But, pesto getting warm shoudn't cause clumping.

            Anyway, the solution was I put the blender glass in the fridge and about an hour later tried blending it again. It smoothed perfectly and seems fixed. I am expecting it will separate as it sits, as, you said, that's what pesto does.

            I had just not described the separting properly. It clumped. Maybe thazt's not even the right word.

            Anyway, thanks for all the advice.