Pesto Sauce, this garlicy, creamy green base for pasta, must have been on our menu a million times this year; Thanks to the abundant harvest in my super cool balcony garden. I remember making at least five different variations of the sauce for different whole grain pasta in my pantry. Here is a picture of my home grown basil...Ah! I am so proud!
Pesto means "to pound" in Italian. The sauce basically derives its name as the recipe called for use of a mortar and a pestle to crush the basil, parsley, garlic and cheese crumbs to make a creamy spread. Hmm..am I getting too good with my food etymology? lol...It shows that I am hooked to the food network, right?
Basic ingredient being sweet Basil or any other variety of "sauce" basil, green chillies, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, roasted nuts ( say pine nuts), salt, lemon juice and salt. Now that is your traditional pesto. We could add any of the following: cilantro/ coriander, parsley, curry leaves, and mint. It is nice to experiment with other green leafy vegetables, and that includes chard, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, beet root leaves, radish and even carrot leaves. Possibilities are endless so let your imagination run wild. Adding a handful of dry roasted nuts (almonds, peanut or pine nuts) makes the pesto sauce taste really good. Another combination which could work well is adding a handful of boiled peas into the pesto.
Curry leaves are my weakness, my ammama and amma put in me that eating curry leaves made your hair grow beautiful, black, and really long. And now I am ok with anything vegetarian put on my plate. If Italians have their pesto, we have our coriander and/or mint chutney to give our food that "green kick". A interesting fact about these green sidies is that they are really great to improve your appetite and bless you with a cool glowing skin. Whatever the recipe or the name, they are all...Awesome!