Monday, August 07, 2006

Pesto Alla Genovese

The Pesto recipe was in Cooking of Italy, in the old Time/Life Food series of cookbooks . If you ever run across these books used, snap them up. They are wonderful. Back in the old days, when I worked in Kendall Square, we would walk down the street to Central Square and eat at an Italian place (Bertucci's) that had a wonderful antipasto, and the best part of it was the Chicken Pesto.

Pesto alla Genovese

2 cups fresh basil leaves, stripped from their stems, coarsely chopped and tightly packed.
1 t. salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
1-2 t. finely chopped garlic
2 T. finely chopped pine nuts (or walnuts)
1 to 1 1/2 cups olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a blender or food processer, combine basil, salt, pepper, garlic, nuts and 1 cup of olive oil. Blend at high speed until the ingredients are smooth, stopping every 5 or 6 second to push herbs down with a rubber spatula.
The sauce should be thin enough to run off the spatula easily. If too thick, blend in as much as ½ cup more olive oil.
Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese.

Poach chicken breasts, cool and cut into bit size pieces. Add a few spoons of pesto and mix well. Serve on lettuce or as part of an antipasto.

You can also mix the chicken and pesto with cooled pasta and fresh tomatoes for a delicious main course. Serve with French bread. I ate this once at Rebecca' s in Kendall Square and then made it at home.

Bon Apetit!


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