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A REAL Pesto dish

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I'm looking for a *real* Pesto pasta dish.

Pesto: Olive oil, basil, garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano, pine nuts, salt, pepper... and good pasta.

Not "creamy" pesto, or heavy on cheese. And not some expensive version either. Pesto, the way it was intended. I can't stand it when restaurants offer "creamy" pesto.

Is this available in the San Gabriel Valley, or do I have to continue making my own?

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  1. I may have some opposition with this post.. However the pesto at alejos on Lincoln and Washington is pretty good. Just as you mentioned.. not sure if the Parmigiano is Reggiano but the total dish comes together very well. Good Fried Calamari too if thats your thing..

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    Alejo Presto Trattoria
    4002 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

    1. If you want to try it at a more upscale dining location you might give Drago's in Santa Monica a try.

      Drago Restaurant
      www.celestinodrago.com
      2628 Wilshire Blvd
      Santa Monica, CA 90403
      (310) 828-1585

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      Drago Restaurant
      2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403

      7 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        "and not some expensive version either" quotes the OP

        1. re: Foodandwine

          One of their pasta with pesto dishes is around $14.50, so it's not going to wipe out their life savings.

          1. re: Servorg

            Expensive or not... they put cream in the Trennette with Pesto at Drago (and most of the other menu items)... For authentic pesto that should be immediate disqualification...

            1. re: lambrusche

              Just to show that some here just cut and paste from a website pass it along as known however they have no first hand knowledge. Thanks lambrusche for the info. I too like a good Pesto where do you like it prepared? As stated above I like Alejos..

              1. re: Foodandwine

                "Just to show that some here just cut and paste from a website pass it along as known however they have no first hand knowledge."

                Sorry if I ran over your dog.

                We were at Drago a little over a year ago (after doing some shopping at Whole Paycheck on Wilshire) and I asked the waiter about lighter, more calorie friendly options (and I also told him that I like strong tastes) and he said they would be glad to prepare the pasta with pesto sauce either with, or without cream. I had it without and thought it was very good, so I recommended it here. Not trying to detract from your Alejo's recommendation if that is what got the passive - aggressive thing going. We like Alejo's in Westchester and go there a couple of times a year on average.

                1. re: Servorg

                  Servog.. not passive or aggressive in intent at all. I actually meant what I had said. You picked up on my statement. I did not name names. You felt like repling in earnest.. My contact info is in my profile unlike yours. Feel free to contact me if you care to discuss this further. Perhaps you could of mentioned an off menu item. To further I had questioned your comments on a hot dog place a few months back and after a few volleys you came clean and said that you have not tried the place. Perhaps you can preface things with " from what I am told " or something like that will give you more credibility. After all you do take up allot of bandwith on this site. Back to the food. What else did you like at Drago I have never been..

                  1. re: Foodandwine

                    Bandwidth no longer an issue since the site was sold and I'm done with this thread.

                    And the only hot dog thread that I can recall replying to you on was this one. Where did I say I hadn't been? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5607...

      2. Don't forget the Pecorino Sardo, if available; otherwise, Pecorino Romano. A small amount provides a subtle pungency, as in Marcella Hazan's classic recipe, which I've been making since the 70's, and it's fabulous. When the basil is just-picked and the cheeses and oil are top-quality, this recipe is better than anything I've had outside of Genoa.

        Best local restaurant for pesto (and everything else Italian): Valentino. There it's easy to recall Marcella's lovely description: "If the definition of poetry allowed that it could be composed with the products of the field as well as with words, pesto would be in every anthology."

        1. and to stress the same point you made in your post-- PINE NUTS, not walnuts, not peanuts, not sunflower seeds, not omitting the nuts. . . .

          1. La Buca?

            1. If you don't mind chains - a friend of a friend of a friend is the owner of the Maria's Kitchen (and I think Louise's ) restaurants and we were at a party that she was hosting and asked if the pesto they were using on the pizza had walnuts (my boyfriend is allergic to walnuts but loves pesto - we've had problems in the past) and she said 'NEVER'!!! The pizza was great and though I haven't been to one of those restaurants in a while as I live in Ventura, it gives me hope that their pesto is as good as mine :p

              1. One of my favorite pestos can be found at Marco's Trattoria, a hole-in-the-wall on Santa Monica Blvd. near Crescent Heights. Simple, light ... and only $10.95 a la carte for dinner.

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                Marco's Trattoria
                8136 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

                2 Replies
                1. re: maxzook

                  Maxzook any thing else you would recommend? I plan to go there and would like to spit another dish with my son..

                  1. re: Foodandwine

                    "I plan to go there and would like to spit another dish with my son."

                    That, I would recommend against ;)

                    I like their minestrone and salads ... problem is, I'm so in love with their pesto I can't remember much of anything else on their menu. My s.o. usually orders a pizza, and she has pretty good taste.

                2. Pesto is and should be a seasonal dish. It is about the bounty of the late summer harvest. Pesto in January is never going to be "real."

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JudiAU

                    True... but that argument will never fly in L.A. They still have Heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market for heavens sake... and people love to eat their risotto with osso buco al fresco up and down Canon Drive in 100 plus summers

                    1. re: lambrusche

                      There are idiots everywhere, even outside LA. =)

                      Those tomatoes are grown in hothouses and they suck. They are for the tourists and suckers and not some one who appreciates quality.

                      The original OP asked for "authentic" pesto. Good quality pesto just isn't available now.