Pesto Pairings


Pesto is what summer eating is all about for me and it’s not too late to capture the flavors before fall comes. I cannot get enough of the smooth basil, parmesan, olive oil, and garlic goodness. Basil loves the summer heat and needs very little maintenance. When dining at Incanto restaurant in Amsterdam, Chef Bas created this incredible presentation of pesto artistically swept around a piece of slate with a cannoli filled with fresh mozzarella “cream”. A nice twist on the traditional ricotta filled cannoli. The flavors were as awesome as the presentation. Pesto is so flexible that you can do much more than place it on top of a bowl of pasta. For authenticity, use a mortar and pestle instead of a food processor to prepare. Bon Appetito!

Recipe for Pesto

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Process all ingredients in a food processor, pulsing as you add ingredients one at a time. Pour the olive oil slowly. Add additional olive oil if you want a smoother consistency. Serve immediately.
Note: Not everyone has 4 cups of fresh basil leaves in the garden, so a nice healthy alternative I like to make is 2 cups of basil and 2 cups of arugula leaves. Their peppery flavor adds a nice addition to the pesto. Also, I highly recommend roasting the garlic before adding to the pesto. Slow roasting the garlic with olive oil brings out a nutty flavor that will also add character to your pesto. Enjoy the versatility of pesto and design your own pesto on a platter!

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