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Rough Pesto Rustico

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This is the best pesto variation I have ever tasted. My brother and sister created a scrumptious feast tonight of blackened salmon, pesto, pasta, salad and steamed asparagus. And I had the luxury of simply hovering around with my camera! Here's the recipe for Brother Jor's now famous Rough Pesto Rustica. Sister Julie's Blackened Salmon is in the next instructable.

Recipe and all steps on one page for easy printing will be the last step.
 
 
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Step 1: Gather your tools and ingredients.

Picture of Gather your tools and ingredients.
HARDWARE:
Large heavy skillet (cast iron rules)
Good sharp knife
Cutting board
Wooden spoon or latex spatula

SOFTWARE:
1 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups roughly grated parmsan cheese (or other favorite hard cheese)
1 1/2 heads garlic, minced
3 cups fresh basil, rough chopped
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Enough of your favorite pasta for four adults (farfalle or fusilli are our favorites)

Step 4: Garlic Prep

Mince your garlic. One full bulb and then about half of another. This is probably about 15-20 good sized cloves.

*TIP! To release the cloves from their paper thin husks easily, lay those babies out on your chopping block and give them each a light bludgeoning. Just one swift whack per piece with a flat-bottomed jar or other device will suffice. Now simply slice off the dry nubby base and pull the peel off with it. Easy peasy! See photos.

Step 5: Toast Pine Nuts

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In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, dry toast the pine nuts, shaking regularly until they are golden brown and give off a rich nutty aroma. Do not let them sit still or they may burn.
small nit pick? pesto is raw. You toast the pine nuts, yeah, and you can roast the garlic as well, but basil gives off a bitter flavor when cooked and real pesto doesn't involve cooking the basil. Make this, but take out 1/4 of the basil and sub some fresh baby spinach. add in about 1/4 cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes. That stuff is weapons-grade yummy.
rupamagic (author)  I Am An Evil Taco6 years ago
Yes, as someone else pointed out, technically pesto is also meant to be pulverized, the name pesto has some relation to pestle I imagine? While this is not traditional pesto, it is absolutely divine when made exactly as the instructable directs. If it makes you feel better, the basil is not actually cooked, just wilted, since as you see in step 8, as soon as you add the basil you remove it from the heat and cover it for one minute, then serve. The heat is only there to wilt the leaves and change the texture. Trust me, it's perfect. Actually, don't trust me, try it yourself!
Ah, you blanch the basil. I can see that. Not technically traditional, but I'll definitely give it a taste. For what it's worth, I wasn't bashing the dish, just the technicality. This actually looks rather tasty and I'm near dying to stuff this into a breaded chicken breast with some provolone.
rupamagic (author)  I Am An Evil Taco6 years ago
Now that sounds like a great use for this stuff! I'm nearly salivating at the thought! I didn't think you were slamming it, nothing is personal out here either way, and I am always learning. Thanks for the idea!
totally. I'm curious to use this as well, to see what the slight blanch will do for the flavor. There's a pesto egg crepe dish on this site somewhere that I think this pesto would be an amazing cap for. Thanks for the recipe!
mmm.. pesto. gotta try it!
amagriva6 years ago
In Italy we use "mortaio", a tool used also in the old pharmacy, to squeeze and mix the ingredients. I suggest you to add parmesan at last (Parmigiano- Reggiano brand) and to try linguine pasta (sort of spaghetti, De Cecco brand. Maybe toasting the pine nuts kills a little the characterisic pine smell (De gustibus non disputandum est) Ciao e buon appetito
rupamagic (author)  amagriva6 years ago
Mmm, all very good suggestions, thanks! I often use a mortar and pestle, which I am guessing is the same as your mortaio, and possibly the same root word where the name pesto came from (pesto/pestle?). I love linguine and fettuccine, but my sister and brother love the short curly pasta that has many "traps" to hold the sauce.
jnixon6 years ago
Wow this is great! I wish more food instructables were like yours!
rupamagic (author)  jnixon6 years ago
Gosh golly jeepers and awww shucks! Thanks! I try to make 'em worth lookin' at anyway.
Paperduck6 years ago
This looks great! And tasty! Though I'm not sure if 'pesto' really fits here. Pesto, ital. 'pestare': to pound, to crush, would require some sort of.. pounding or.. crushing ;) Nice instructable!
rupamagic (author)  Paperduck6 years ago
You are probably right, but the title was coined by the chef, I just documented this one. It could be considered a partially deconstructed pesto, since it has all the same ingredients as your most common pesto recipes, but you don't use anything but a knife so everything keeps it's original shape, more or less. In any case, it is delicious and you should try it if you like "real" pesto!
GENIUSMAXX6 years ago
Excellent use of scrumtrillescent!!
rupamagic (author)  GENIUSMAXX6 years ago
Hahahah! I love it, don't you? Sometimes no other adjective will suffice!
Wow, two delicious Instructables in a row! (Saw one just now). Great job, I really really want this now, I am so hungryyy. Great job, +1 rating.
rupamagic (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Yay! Thanks.
zenzen6 years ago
Love this "chopped" way of interpreting pesto; definitely will have to give it a try- nice pics too!
rupamagic (author)  zenzen6 years ago
Thanks, the pics were about all I had to do for a change! I got fed AND learned a new recipe. I am blessed with amazing siblings.
noahw6 years ago
I make my pesto this way too now. I've abandoned the days of food processors and such, and now I just do a rough chop like you've shown. I think it's much tastier and classier because you can actually see the different bits in the pesto. Have you tried making it and mixing in a little arugula? Look for the baby stuff - it's less bitter than daddy arugula and adds a nice little kick to the pesto that I have really come to enjoy. I love your deep frying of the pine nuts disguised as "toasting". Awesome job!
rupamagic (author)  noahw6 years ago
Hey now! I would say fry your nuts if that is what I wanted you to do! If you look at my own recipes they are proud of their decadence when it is there. Those nuts are dry toasted! That was the only part of the dish I actually did myself. The oil is just an added ingredient in the mix, used to incorporate all other ingredients together, as best as I can tell. As I said, last night was the first time I have had this, and I just watched my brother make it. Lucky me. I am going to try a bit of tender arugula next time, that sounds like it would be fantastic. I will have to suggest it to my brother as well, thanks for the tip! What I really love about this is the crunch of the whole pine nuts! And I think to do need to DRY TOAST them (*grin*) before adding the oil to get them good and crunchy, but I could be wrong.
Oh, wow. So hungry now. Need pesto. This is an interesting take on it and I'm going to have to try it! :D
Brennn106 years ago
Fantastic Instructable! Great instructions and pictures! This is definitely going to my mom.
rupamagic (author)  Brennn106 years ago
Yay! It's a family favorite here after just one try! Be sure to check out the blackened salmon instructable I just posted, it went REALLY well together!
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