Jun 25, 2012

Pesto Sauce

             Whenever Italian pasta or pizza is served, the sauce commonly used in India is tomato sauce or white sauce. The green pesto sauce isn't a very common feature in average Indian restaurants yet. I first was introduced to this sauce in form of pizza sauce with feta cheese and almond slivers in Pizza Chicago in USA.. Oh! I absolutely loved that pizza. I have attempted to make pesto sauce here which can be used for pastas or as pizza sauce or as a spread for sandwiches....
            Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, fresh basil, and pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep's milk).
             In India it would be very difficult to find Fiore Sardo and Parmigiano Reggiano is too expensive. I haven't added cheese to my sauce but if you want, you can add ½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano
                 Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees. They are small elongated ivory-colored seeds from pine cones, measuring about 1/2 inch long. When raw, the seeds have a soft texture and a sweet, buttery flavor. They are often lightly toasted to bring out the flavor and to add a little crunch. Pinenuts are not commonly avaiable in India and if you are able to find them, they are really expensive.. So if you want to substitute them, cashewnuts are great substitution as cashewnuts are a tad sweet and creamy nuts. You could also make almond or walnut pesto.
                  The word pesto means to pound, but traditionally the pesto sauce was made by grinding the ingredients in circular motion using a wooden pestle in a marble mortar. But it will take lots of time to use traditional mortar n pestle, so I used blender.
            With Neil around,its impossible to cook nowadays. He is growing up and wants all of my undivided attention all the time.Only time i can cook and have some time for myself is some time when he sleeps in afternoon. He wants to talk to me and ask many questions. He starts by calling out "aai aai aai", if I dont manage to look at him within next few seconds, he will start yelling "Angiya, Angiya....." He cant say "r" yet, so his talks are very cute to hear. He is keen to know about everything I am doing.

  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh Italian basil leaves
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup lightly toasted pinenuts
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Rinse the leaves briefly and pat them dry between 2 paper towels.
  • In a skillet, lightly toast the pinenuts till they turn light golden. You want to have creamy taste of pinenuts rather than nutty taste. So avoid toasting them a lot. I toasted mine on a medium flame for 2 min only.
  • In a blender or food processor first add garlic and chop it finely.
  • Then add pinenuts into food processor and finely chop it.
  • Add fresh basil leaves and process until it is chopped.
  • Finally, slowly mix in the olive oil, until a smooth thick consistency is achieved. Add salt.
  • Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and add olive oil just to cover it to prevent the darkening of its surface.
  • Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
The pesto keeps up to 10 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. Remember to top up with olive oil every time you use it, to prevent oxidation.


  1. Hmm . Interesting .. will check if I find the original ingredients here and try it.

  2. Thanks.. do try, its simple n quick recipe


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