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Apr 23, 2009 05:24 PM

Can you rescue my pesto?

I made a double batch of pesto and it is SO garlicky, i"m so upset... I mean, it burns the back of my throat. it totally overwhelms the basil. Is there anything I can add to tone down the bite of the garlic? Anything except more basil- I'm all out ; (

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  1. i hate to say it, but you really just need to add more of everything *except* garlic to dilute it throughout a greater volume of other ingredients. do you have any fresh parsley? that would help, as would more cheese, nuts & oil.

    1. Maybe a little lemon zest and a pinch or 2 of granulated sugar? Maybe the garlic will "tame" after an hour or 2 of resting? Try adding some parsley to it if you have some (even dried would work...) random thoughts... adam

      1 Reply
      1. re: adamshoe

        Adam - you're right, the garlic will mellow with age. Sh-fan, wait til tomorrow - if it's still strong, add more parm and nuts (or got to the store and follow GHG's recommendation).

      2. Why do you think it came out more garlicky (?) than usual? Were your cloves extra huge, or was it the same amount you've always used? Different type of garlic? Sorry to ask so many ?'s, but I'm just nosy ;) adam

        1 Reply
        1. re: adamshoe

          I am betting it is China garlic which has a really strong and almost bitter flavor. I started to notice this change in the flavor profile about a year ago. Sadly, I was forced to pay attention when I "ruined" a batch of hummus.

          More of every other ingredient is the only way to rebalance the flavors.

        2. I would even try cutting it with some stock, chicken or vegetarian, to spread out the garlic in some liquid.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            on a related note, Would making pesto without the pine nuts completely change the flavor, or would there be a none tree nut substitute?

              1. re: kubasd

                I've made it without and it still has the essential taste of pesto. Truly, it's not too different at all. An allergy (I assume that's the issue) should not deprive one of the glory that is fresh pesto nirvana.

                1. re: kubasd

                  I wonder if chickpeas would work in place of the tree nuts. You could toast the chickpeas first to bring out a nutty flavor and texture.

                2. re: Phurstluv

                  traditional pesto has a long shelf life. adding stock would decrease that dramatically.

                3. Goodhealthgourmet is right. If you're out of basil, try spinach instead for this addition. I usually use a mix in my pesto recipe. To reply to kubasd, I usually use walnuts instead of pine nuts, and while the taste is a little different, I like it just fine - and with that many far more pungent ingredients (basil, garlic, romano), the nut difference really isn't noticeable.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Emmmily

                    I've made it using walnuts and I love that, but the person i wanted to make some for is deathly allergic to tree nuts. He's never had pesto because of it.

                    1. re: kubasd

                      Whoops, misread your question - I thought you were looking for a tree-nut to sub in for the pine nuts. I think of the nuts as something blander to cut all those strong flavors and add a little bulk. You're probably just fine without it.

                      1. re: kubasd

                        i'd definitely try it with pumpkin seeds if he can eat them.

                        another weird thought that might work...roasted soynuts.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Now there's an idea. Finely chopped firm tofu had crossed my mind, but it just seemed so wrong - at least soy nuts are nut-like.