Saturday, August 09, 2008

Alice Waters: Once More with Pesto

I find it completely mystifying that children -- children who will pick every leaf of basil off a pizza margherita -- like pesto. It's a powerful, garlicky, pungent, roughly textured sauce -- and it's GREEN. But every kid I know seems to eat it with gusto.

Since I had a lot of basil, last night I made another pesto from another Alice Waters book. This time, I tried the recipe from Vegetables which differs from the recipe she uses in Art of Simple Food. Twice as much basil, twice as much garlic, twice as much cheese. Quantities of oil and pine nuts are the same. The result was definitely punchier and, as I suspected, I didn't like it as much. 

To her credit, Waters does mention here that it's okay to use the food processor. "Purists agree that the very best way to make pesto is to pound it by hand in a mortar," she writes. "If you have the time and tools to do so, you will be rewarded with the pleasure of the process and the authentic taste of the resulting crude paste." Then she finishes by saying you can, in a pinch, use your Cuisinart.



  1. I do not understand what you mean. My children love pesto, all of their friends do, also, and furthermore, when I was growing up I did, too.

  2. Ah, but that is the point -- how many other garlicky, strong-flavored, GREEN foods do children like? In my experience, almost none. But they all seem to love pesto.

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