Friday, April 24, 2015

No fuss pesto

My letter to the manufacturer:

'I tried the new basil stir through pesto tonight. It was awful from the first mouthful. I had to add other things to it to make my dinner palatable. I wish I had just made my own pesto like I usually do. This pesto of yours is sweet and pesto should not be sweet at all.

There should not be any sugar in a pesto. Traditional recipes don't have it. As a refridgerated product you certainly don't need it. Even the non-refridgerated jars of pestos on the market aren't remotely sweet. Your product has over two teaspoons of sugar in each tub. That's more than most people put in a coffee. That's also more than there is salt and garlic in your product. Utterly wrong!

Unlike your other products, I would not buy or recommend this product to anyone.'

[edit 27/4/2015] To compensate for my unsatisfactory gastronomical experience, the manufacturer has offered to send me a coupon for the supermarket of my chosing.

No Fuss Pasta Pesto

I've made pesto for pasta enough times to be able to just throw it together without measurements, knowing it will be delicious. It's usually ready before my pasta is!

Cobble together these ingredients to a taste and texture you like, grinding in your mortar and pestle in the following order :
  • Fresh basil leaves - also works with fresh oregano, roughly chopped, about a handful to serve two
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • Garlic cloves - roughly chopped
  • Pinenuts or other nuts - I usually have salted, roasted cashews on hand so I reduce the ground salt added. Peanuts also work well.
Now, get a little rubber or silicone spatula - never a metal implement, it will scratch the mortar- and mix in:
  • Parmesan cheese - traditionally, but whatever hard cheese you have to hand will do in a pinch
  • Olive oil - enough to turn the mixture into a paste
All you need is a mortar and pestle and you too can make your own. Yes you can do it in a processor but I suspect it will be a little different because you're cutting rather than crushing the ingredients. I recommend a granite mortar and pestle with a 12cm diameter on the mortar's inner bowl. It seems to be the optimum size: for speedy results on a good quantity; by not being too cumbersome to pick up off the bench and cradle if that's how you wish to grind; being easy to gently put in the sink and manipulate to wash. Always hand wash. Dark granite is better than marble because it won't stain.