Charles and Lindsey Shere: homepage sauce aioli
sauce guacamole


Yesterday we had pasta al pesto :

Pesto sauce

You start with the basil, of course. I wash it in the salad-dryer bowl, tearing off the leaves and tossing them in the basket to spin them dry. Washing the basil
basil in the mortar You need enough basil to fill your mortar. And you need a couple of cloves of garlic, four if they're small like these; and some grated Parmesan, and some pine nuts.
I start by slicing the basil leaves with a knife, to minimize the amount of mortar-pestle work—though there are those who think this is cheating. slice the basil
pound the basil Smash the garlic in the mortar, using the pestle, and then add the basil and the pine nuts and maybe a little bit of coarse sea salt, and pound away.
After things get pretty well pounded to a paste you'll switch from a pounding up-and-down motion to a grinding round-and-round motion, and at this point you can begin adding the olive oil. add the oil
scrape the mortar Scrape the sides of the mortar down when necessary, using a special tool readily at hand. Add some olive oil; then stir in the Parmesan. (At this point I switch from the pestle to a small whisk.)
Work the pesto with the whisk, continuing to add oil until it has the consistency you like. Some of the pine nuts will have escaped crushing earlier: now you can smash them up with the wire whisk. stir in the cheese
make a Marini You might want to take a break with a Martini: Three parts gin, one part dry Vermouth, shake with ice, pour into glass with olives. Lindsey likes her Nottini, which is equal parts gin and vermouth.
But first you should push the pesto down in the mortar so its surface is flat and level, and float a little olive oil on top to keep it from oxidizing. You can stretch some plastic film across the top if you like, and put it in the refrigerator if you're not using it soon (but let it come to room temperature before you do use it). The finished pesto

I can't tell you how much of these various ingredients you'll need; maybe the photos will give you an idea. The basil should be as fresh as possible. We use salt from the Ile de Ré; the pine nuts come from our own trees; the oil's from Trader Joe; the Parmesan is Reggiano. The pesto is a little better, I think, if you use half Parmesan and half Pecorino, but we didn't have any Pecorino yesterday. Oh well.
rev.: Aug. 23 2004 copyright © 2004, Charles Shere return to homepage