Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Garlic Breath Pesto

In lieu of philosopy or confessions, here's a recipe. It is delicious in a vicious sort of way. I made some before I got sick and it's something you can taste through a clogged nose no problem. Make sure anyone you intend to get close to eats some too, I'm not kidding about the name.

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
1 bulb garlic (not a clove, all the cloves in a bulb)
1/2 cup pine (pignoli) nuts
4 oz parmesan cheese

Put the basil in a blender. Add olive oil until you've got just enough for the blender to chop up the leaves. Peel the garlic, add it, chop it up too. Add the pine nuts and parmesan, grind it all into a thick mixture. Should barely pour; I prop the blender pitcher over a bowl and leave it for an our, then scrape out the rest with a long-handled spoon. Let it sit in the refrigerator for three days (eating it sooner it has more bite and less umami). Serve over hot pasta.


  1. Does it taste good if you leave out the parmesan? If not, do you have any ideas what I might replace the parmesan with? Soy cheese is so gross...

  2. What do you pair this with? I was just thinking it would make an appropriately aggressive dressing for lamb, mutton, or game.

  3. Ozymandias, I think it might be good if you skip the parmesan and double up on the pine nuts; I've never tried it though. That would definitely change the flavor but it might still be good; I think the extra pine nuts would help it keep it's consistency and mouthfeel. Or maybe replace the parmesan with sesame seeds and some nutritional yeast, but I've never experimented; good luck! Stop reading now, you will find the part for LabRat gross.

    LabRat, I usually pair it with hot or mild Italian sausage. I've never tried it with lamb, mutton or game, and I don't have any handy to experiment with, but I think it would be good; I've put in on hamburgers. It completely overpowers chicken or turkey except in small quantities, but it's tasty enough that that isn't always bad.

  4. Oh! Oh! Brainstorm.

    Make a bastardized sausage sandwich with a thick round of pita, onions grilled until just starting to caramelize, that pesto, merguez sausage, and maybe some feta cheese.

    You could use your breath to clean an oven with afterward, but it would be so good.

  5. I usually precede the meal with a big salad as the pesto tends to make most vegetables taste insipid. It clashes with spinach, otherwise one of my favorites; after the pesto the spinach just tastes like iron. Might go with a ratatouille or other squash-tomato vegetable mix.

    BTW, Ozymandias, I thought it was really good on a sandwich of whole grain bread, sliced tomato, and pan-fried tofu. I tried that one year when I gave up meat for Lent.

  6. I have never managed to fry tofu and make it remotely appetizing (I usually just end up soaking it in whatever the sauce is). Still that sandwich sounds nummy-- especially if you use proper vine-ripened tomatoes sold by some guy out of his pickup truck.

    I am quite accustomed to the strange habits of meateaters and hardly ever go BLEH at them for describing sausages.

  7. especially if you use proper vine-ripened tomatoes sold by some guy out of his pickup truck.

    Ah, yes. My neigborhood is still semi-rural so the equivalent is sold by some guy off a card table in front of his house; frequently with a sign with prices, a coffee can for money, and the honor system. The very best I've had were when my neighbor across the street grew too many this year and I bought some on the way to my mailbox (the Post Office only delivers to the other side of my street). Either he had exceptional luck this year or he just grows a fantastic tomato.

  8. In my area we also have Some Guy Selling Stone Crab Claws* Out Of The Back Of His Truck. Slight risk of food poisoning, but it is so worth it.

    *Which I eat gladly, because I refuse to extend moral consideration to invertebrates.

  9. Ah, we get none of that. Tomatoes, melons, peaches, cucumbers, corn, apples, ground cherries (an interesting fruit), eggs. No seafood.