Skip to main content

Marcella Hazan’s Pesto, but with a twist.

Marcella Hazan is the chef that taught me how to cook authentic Italian. She was tough and demanded authentic ingredients and no short cuts, but the recipes are timeless and still work today as well as them did 20 years ago. If you want one cookbook on Italian cooking, you can’t go wrong with her classic, “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”.

Summer is the perfect time to make pesto. With all the rain we’re been having, my basil in pots has been going crazy.


There are many recipes for pesto, but I think Marcella gets the balance just right. I make a small change, because I’m not a huge fan of pine nuts. I’ve even seen authentic recipes from Genoa where they use walnuts, but I love pecans, so that’s my hack.

The basil, washed and patted dry, olive oil and butter


Use a food processor, with garlic, pecans and basil to begin.


Pesto, finished by hand.


Ingredients

1 lb Pasta, I think Spaghetti, linguine or spaghettini work best. But if you can’t manage that, fusilli, orecchiette or farfalle can work too.

2 cups basil leaves, tightly packed
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, crushed with flat side of your knife and finely minced
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
4 Tbsp Pecans or Walnuts or pine nuts if you like them.

2nd Set of Ingredients


3 Tbsp Butter
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 cup finely grated Romano

Put all the first set of ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you get a smooth consistency. Then transfer into a bowl and fold in the second set of ingredients by hand until the mixture is smooth and put into the refrigerator. I find it improves after about one hour.

Take your pesto out of the refrigerator. Start the water for pasta, give it at least 1 Tbsp of salt. Once it’s boiling add in your pasta.

About 4 minutes before the pasta is done scoop out some hot pasta water and set aside.

Cook the pasta for another 2 minutes, drain and add the pasta back to the cooking pan. Add the pesto and a splash of the pasta water over medium low heat and stir to coat the pasta for an additional 2 minutes. You may not need all of the reserved pasta water. Serve with additional cheese as desired.


Note: If you have the time, any of the nuts can benefit from a roasting in the oven. Just put on a cookie sheet in a preheated oven at 325F for 5-6 minutes and then let them cool.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Norfolk Style Seafood

This is such a good recipe and so simple to make. The story behind this recipe is interesting. When I was a young boy, we used to go to a seafood restaurant in Washington DC called O'Donnell's. They had wonderful food, and most importantly, they had Buck.


Buck was a gentle giant at 6' 2" and was always talking to me about his recipe. He had invented this style of cooking seafood and had even developed special pans which could be used over open flame and then it could be delivered to the tables still sizzling. He was rightfully very proud of this. 


After being there quite a few times, Buck shared his recipe with me and told me to keep it a secret. Since this was over 40 years ago, I guess I can reveal it now. 


Ingredients

1/2 lb Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Crab or Langoustines, raw and shelled
2 Tbsp Butter
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
Dash of Old Bay Seasoning
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Few dashes of Tabasco
Splash of White Wine
Salt and Black Pepper


Heat your pan until fairly hot, then add butter an…

The garden enclosure is finished!

This weekend the garden enclosure was finished and most everything has been planted. I planted three types of potatoes, Yellow Finn, Purple Viking and Desiree. 



I also planted some garlic in with the tomatoes, as I heard that the garlic will keep down the aphids and hopefully the spider mites. However, interesting note, beans do not do well with garlic. 

I just have some of the late geminating hot chilies still to go in and then I will direct sow some collard greens and maybe some additional carrots. 

I think the linseed oil looks great as a finish and the wood seems to be very well nourished. I like the color it's taken on and the upkeep should be just a light coat just once a year.

For those who have asked, the panels swing outwards and upwards and then are propped with a pole, which you can see leaning against the right of the enclosure. 

It's such a simple system and effectively it has made the garden secure, and with the drip irrigation system, mostly self sufficient.

I fully u…

Whole Green Moong Dal-Indian Comfort Food

Dal is an Indian staple which can be eaten in the morning, lunch, dinner as a side dish or for a snack. It can be eaten with rice, bread or on its own. Bottom line, it is Indian comfort food. A thick stew of moong (mung) beans, spices and creamy goodness. It is often made with spilt moong dal, but I prefer to use the whole moong dal
I had eaten various types of dal in many places around the word, including India and was always impressed with its creaminess, but speaking frankly I wouldn't have gone out of my way to make it at home. A friend kept mentioning that he was gong to cook “mug” which was a recipe from his Indian friend and I finally asked what he meant and he said moong dal.
I was intrigued and after comparing many recipes from my own cookbooks and online, I came up with this recipe which is nothing short of amazing. The house smelled wonderful while it was cooking and the flavor was hearty, wholesome and a bit spicy and just perfect for a fall afternoon. 

Additionally, it i…