Sunday, May 1, 2011

Secrets of making very green Pesto Sauce 意大利香蒜醬烹調方法

I started the idea of taking cooking class in different countries rather than taking a professional course at home.  My goal is to learn the most authentic way of making a local recipe.  It has so far been an amazing journey.  Besides from the Pizza and Pasta recipe that I shared, the most eye opening recipe that chef gave me was the Pesto recipe.  I have made pesto so many times, and watched chef making them, but not once I got tips like this.  Here is the recipe and I really hope you go out today and make yourself some delicious beautiful Pesto.


Fresh Basil (leaves only) 150g
Ligurian extra virgin olive oil 2 cups(light flavor)
Garlic 2 cloves
Pine nuts 25g
Grated Parmesan Cheese 25g
Grated Pecorino Cheese 10g

Preparation Method:
Put the bowl of the blender into the freezer at least 30 mins before blending
Combine pine nuts, oil, garlic, Parmesan and Pecorino and blend until smooth
Add basil and ONLY blend for few second until combine. 
Put mixture in container and pour olive oil on top to prevent from browning and refrigerate until use.

Ligurian Olive oil is one of a kind, very light in taste but leaves a peppery taste at the back of your mouth.  I have yet to see it in hk, but if you do, grab some.  Only a few garlic is used, less that what I expected.  He said they don't want the garlic to over power the basil flavor.  Pecorino is a goat's milk hard cheese, similar to Parmesan cheese but it brings citrus and sweetness to the equation.  Finally, the most important thing, a chilled blender.  When you blend, it generates heat that cook the basil and therefore will make it turn brown and loose the lush green look.  The cold blender prevents this process and also by only blending for few seconds, the pesto remains extra green.  Using olive oil to cover on top further prevents the oxidation and guarantees your pesto is both delicious and beautiful.  Chef also mentioned, pesto should never be cooked on direct heat.  It should only be added onto hot pasta.  Once you heat the basil, the flavor is not the same.  For storage, you can leave out the cheese from the recipe and put the mixture into a ice cube tray.  When you are ready to use the basil, defrost and add back the cheese into it and mix with your ingredients.

Besides from eating it on toast, chef made this dish with adding pesto to hot pasta, boiled green beans and boiled potatoes.  He called it a vegetable dish but I joke that it is just an excuse for another pasta dish.  I also like pesto in pizza, sandwiches or use it as a salad dressing.