I definitely like walnuts better than pinenuts in pesto. I also usually add a pinch of sugar and a dash of balsamic vinegar. I find it brings out the flavor of the basil.
according to Italians in Italy, because Basil is the KEY ingredient, and the best basil comes from Northern Italy, so best tasting Pesto, WHY? because up north basil does not grow taller than 4 inches… basil taller than that does not have as good a flavor.
They may be right, Pesto we tried in southern Italy was great, but when friends from northern Italy cooked it, it was succulent!
OK - so now I know what “rocket” is, but it doesn’t seem to be an ingredient in any of the recipes posted here so far. I’m guessing it’s not a standard ingredient, then, so I have to wonder why it was in the OP…
Simply because when I asked the waitress for their recipe, she stressed several times that although some people put rocket in their pesto, theirs didn’t have any.
(I was a tad bemused myself but she seemed to think it was important … there was areal fad in Italy for adding rocket to everything a few years back maybe that’s why.)
I adore arugula (rocket.). I love that nutty yet zingy flavor.
But my favorite way to eat it is not as a pesto ingredient, but rather as a nest for fresh mozzarella in my favorite summer dish, insalata caprese. This too is when I enjoy using the balsamic vinegar.
Arugula is easy and fun to grow as well–quite often if you let some go to seed in the fall, it will return in the spring.
I’ve had arugula pesto on several occasions, and seen it for sale in Italian food markets. But it’s always been either “arugula pesto” or regular pesto- not both together. Does anyone do that?
Something good to do with pesto- put it on a raw boneless skinless chicken breast, then grill the chicken (or cook it in a pan on the stovetop). Eat it on some focaccia-type bread. Mmmm.
Another enthusiastic endorsement for freezing pesto in ice cube trays and plopping the frozen cubes in freezer bags. I’m just now using up the last of my supply from last summer’s basil crop. It’s a great way to use up extras when the basil crop’s growing like crazy and needs regular trimming.
If you are freezing it, don’t add the cheese. Pesto without freshly grated Parmesan is a travesty but the cheese doesn’t freeze all that well. Just thaw however many chunks you need, then grate the cheese into it.
For a slightly different taste, but very yummy, try tossing in some very small, tender spinach leaves, or a small handful of flat leaf parsley. The pesto will stay green and lucious, but the taste will be a little brighter and earthier–less purely herbal.
My favorite uses? Over hot pasta, spread over chicken breasts, swirled into hot soup just before serving–you won’t believe what it does for minestrone–or for a very simple, scoopable appetizer: spread soft white cheese on a plate–cream cheese, neufchatel, whatever–, then spread on a layer of pesto. Top with chopped roasted red pepper (and chunks of roasted garlic, if you have it), top with a light swirl of good, dark green olive oil and then sprinkle the top with toasted pine nuts. Great with crackers or crisp veggies for scooping. Or spread some pesto on top of thick slices of dead-ripe garden tomatoes. It’s the pure taste of summer.
Or try spreading some pesto onto a sandwich. Toast some bread, spread pesto, plop on some roasted pepper slices, some cheese and sprouts, Italian-style meat if you want it—bliss.