We are starting the BM#56, Buffet on Table, Week 3 today, which will feature condiments across countries. When you want to know what a condiment is, I simply referred all to wiki. A condiment is anything that’s added to food to impart a particular flavour or to even enhance its flavour. It can be a spice, a sauce or even a prepared food. In some cultures, it can even be served to complement a dish. Though this term originally described pickled or preserved foods, its now widely used. Even salt and sugar are condiments.
After the heavy duty Indian States, I had no energy to prepare elaborate condiments and resorted to simple ones. Rather some of these were made few months back, having in mind that I will end up cooking a lot for the Indian states.
Anyway coming back to the theme, going by the definition of the term condiment, I have tried to prepare it in the different forms it can mean. Today’s condiment is a fresh sauce from Italy.
Pesto, a sauce from Italy, was originally was prepared with Basil, garlic, pine nuts and blended with olive oil, Parmesan cheese. Traditionally the pesto is ground in a mortar with a pestle. Even though I have a mortar and pestle, I used by mixer for quick sauce. It can be preserved or refrigerated up to week, and can be frozen over a month.
Just with any green leaves, after grinding, the leaves tend to get oxidized. To avoid that you can blanch the basil leaves, drain and then make the sauce.
As with all recipes, this can be easily be substituted with ingredients that are not locally available. We do not get pine nuts, so I replaced with almonds. You also have variations in replacing Basil itself. Use Parsley, to make Parsley Pesto. I made Fusilli Pasta with Parsley Pesto and Roasted Broccoli
Basic Pesto Sauce
Basil leaves – 1 bunch
Almonds, roasted – 10
Garlic – 4 -5 cloves
Salt to taste
Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
Water for blending
Pepper for seasoning
Parmesan cheese – 1 tsp
How to make the Pesto
Blanch the Basil leaves and keep it aside.
MW almonds for a minute, then chop it finely, and grind to a fine powder. Add crushed garlic and pulse it. Add olive oil and pulse again.
Add salt and pepper as required, add Basil leaves and grind to an almost smooth paste. Add Parmesan cheese at the end.
Use in any pasta dish as desired.
Refrigerate for 2 days or freeze in cubes for couple of months.
I used this pesto to make Spaghetti in Pesto Sauce.