Variations on Pesto
Hi food loving friends,
I have a ton of basil and I want to start "putting it up". I am planning on making this weekend a "pesto" weekend.
Does anyone have any great recipes for variations on the classic basil pesto (still using basil)?
What are your favorites?
I was reading a post on Elizabeth Minchilli's blog a couple of months ago and she posted a recipe for "Sicilian Pesto". I had never heard of such a thing (and my mother's side is Sicilian). It sounded delicious - basil, garlic, almonds, tomatoes & pecorino romano cheese. Wow! Well, I made it and it was ridiculously easy and my family and I fell in love. Here is a link to Minchilli's recipe:
And here is a spin on Sicilian pesto done by Mario Batali... with the addition of mint and peppers to spice it up. I haven't made this one yet, but I want to:
Yummm, Buon appetito!
I actually prefer this version to Genovese!
I think the reason many people here of Sicilian heritage haven't heard of it is that it's a very local dish from the northwest of Sicily. It's also known as pesto all'ericiana, Erice being the hill town towering over Trapani. The almonds should be toasted, and a pinch of hot pepper is appropriate in this one. And you can mix the pecorino right in.
1 bunch fresh basil
4 cloves garlic
6 cherry tomatoes (peeled)
1/3 cup olive oil
freshly grated Fiore Sardo cheese (substitute Parmigiano Reggiano)
pistachio is one of my favorite variations, but i see the others beat me to it!
some other additions i like to use to put a new twist on it:
- olives (green or black depending on your preference)
- sun-dried tomatoes
- wild mushrooms
- preserved lemon
- artichoke hearts
you can also substitute arugula or parsley for part of the basil to add a hint of bitterness.