Partially Legit Pesto


I’ve stumbled upon this dilemma before, even though BS provided a fairly clear answer.  But after my latest pesto abortion (above), I decided to actually be the writer I strive to be and investigate.

Deducting from The New Food Lover’s Companion, the main tenets of a pesto come from the Italian origin of the name, “to pound” and the cooking method, well, is the uncooking method. The ingredients of a pesto should be crushed together to create a raw sauce. The pulveration of the sauce can be through either a mortar and pestle or a food processor. And the uncooked part, well, I guess the sauce is not meant to be warmed by fire.

My newest “pesto” therefore is only partially legit. I used my mini-food processor, but with the bitey combination of raw garlic and arugula (so plentiful at the farmers’ market!), I felt the need to heat it through, for really just as long as the pasta cooked and it surely helped with the sting of the sauce.

And just to stick it to TVFF and all you other multi-way haters, I went for a dual usage of the arugula – in the pesto and then added an overwhelming handful to swim with the noodles.

Unorthodox recipe post jump.

Arugula Half-Pesto with Wilted Arugula and Fettuccine

Drop in a food processor: arugula, cream cheese, two smashed garlic cloves, a swirl of olive oil, herbs de provence, salt and pepper. Like I said, this will be a bitey, but less so after cooking. Once the pasta is in the salted, boiling water, let the sauce slowly warm up in a large, high-sided pan. (I used a wok because I’m a terribly messy chef.)

If the sauce is sticking to the pan, throw in some more oil. When the whole wheat fettuccine is almost done, and depending on the thickness of your sauce (it will be thick) add in some of the pasta cooking water, just a tablespoon at a time. And then when the pasta is super nearly done, throw in more arugula, than add in the pasta and toss together. Top with pine nuts, chives, more pepper, and a buttload of freshly grated parm cheese.

Actually, take the buttload in stages. After every sixth bite I grated a bit more cheese. Crap cheese is good.

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  • Maids May 12, 2009  

    I bet the handful of arugula you threw in the pasta pot had more to do with getting rid of overwhelming quantities of arugula that too easily go bad than sticking it to TVFF!

  • BS May 12, 2009  

    you should have made pasta with arugula mixed into the dough. That would have really shown TVFF.

  • Nikki May 12, 2009  

    Your pesto is still considered a pesto, I think. Just because you heated it doesn’t make it any less authentic. Sprinkling pine nuts on top is ok, by me LOL Just because your vanilla ice cream has melted and you continue to eat it doesn’t make it any authentic (unless you *really* want to be technical & call it creme anglaise…& even then, it’s still ice cream)

  • tvff May 12, 2009  

    Or you could have just taken the arugula and shoved it up…

    *remember…it’s a family Web site*

    Gee, gansie, great job on this post!

    And don’t worry too much about cooking this particular pesto. The main violation on cooking a more traditional one would be the use of higher heat on the parm, which is a no-no.

  • Harmony May 12, 2009  

    I hate to say it, but I HATE pesto. One of the worst healthy food kicks/crazes whatever you want to call it. First on pasta, then on pizza, now it’s everywhere! You can have my share, anytime.

  • dad gansie May 12, 2009  

    it looks tasty

  • Harmony May 12, 2009  

    @BS Hah! I’ve never had pesto with pine nuts OR cheese, but you have got me on all that oil. My main objection to pesto is truly that it’s all basil all the time. Well, unless ES get’s a hold of it and makes it with arugula!

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