Andy Baraghani, Molly Baz, and Carla Lalli Music discuss their favorite pesto recipes. In this snippet, Andy recites his green pesto recipe, while the others chime in with how they make their versions, with different ingredients or techniques to make the Italian classic.
Publish Date: Mar 31, 2021
Okay, so let's let's start with you, Andy. Let's talk about this pesto. With that Carlos set up the classic pesto. What makes a good one? I think we've all had those versions. And why is it so army green? Or why is it, like separating where you see the little flecks of the basil? But it doesn't feel like a sauce? Or, you know, there's things that can go wrong when it goes right. I think it's like my favorite pasta sauce, to be honest, but we all have to not write versions. I think what makes a really good kind of pesto Genovese is where it's not too garlicky, where the basil isn't too spicy. I think that's why you should look for the kind of smaller, more delicate, sweeter leaves, not too much parm. You know, just enough. I think it's a really balancing act of combining all the different ingredients because you can always add more parm after the fact. On top of that, I mean I mean, once you've already tossed the pasta, you can certainly put them on top of pasta in the pasta. That's what you're serving your pistol with. All right, Sorry, sorry. I feel like a lot of the subpar classic Genovese pesto. So I've had are subpar because they lack in oil. Like I feel like you need a lot more fat than you think you need. And then that gets mingling with the pasta, water and maybe a little bit of butter. And that's when things start to really coat the noodles. Okay, but for instance, in our August issue, which comes out shortly, we have bes best passed out, and I'm not going to go off on the food stylist. But I feel like in that photo it felt like, unlike the photo of Andy, your original posture where it felt so impulsive. Phaidon creamy green, this one, like the oil separated from the basil and looks like flecks of herbs as opposed to this really this come together sauce. How do you get to that almost creamy state when there's no cream or butter in there? So you have two forms of fat. You have the fat from the olive oil, and then you have the fat from the pine nut. So I like this recipe has it definitely probably more pine nuts and a lot of typical pest recipes. I use half a cup of pine nuts. I think a lot of people call for, like maybe a quarter cup, maybe for for a pesto that makes one a half cups yield, and you toast them. I toast them in the oven until they're golden. I don't take them too, too far. I don't want them to get bitter, and that just brings out the flavor. Just their natural oils, their sweetness, that nutty nice pine nut flavor. And then I let them cool. Put them in the food processor. We're going to kind of new school around with the food processor and then let them cool. And then I pulse them with Parmesan that's been finally graded. Uh, I use a micro plane and, uh, two cloves of garlic that's been also finally graded, and this is just to make sure there's no bitsy piece of Parmesan garlic. Everything really comes together quickly, and I pulse until it becomes a kind of almost like a paste. The pilots have broken down, the garlic cheese have all come together, and then once you have that, I add six cups of basil leaves. Wow, just because this is always one of those things in recipes. Sometimes we say that sometimes we don't packed or unpacked like. Is that six loose cups or what Does that mean exactly? I think we start saying packed because of you. I So it's a six cup space leaves, which is about three Bunches, we say, or that's like six handfuls. Would you say I'm a I actually made this recently, and I kind of like I didn't I pushed them in a little bit because otherwise you just let it, like, you know, pile up in there. Yeah, your hand believes you can make it look. And also six cups. You kind of have to fill, like a two cup measure a couple times or keep going back. Was that my mom? How she has a two cup flat measure. It's really anyway, um, but it was. I would definitely recommend not using the clamshell. Go find Bunches of basil. Otherwise, you're going to buy just a ridiculous amount of those little prepackaged there like one ounce packages. I would just say this time of year as you start to see Basil Greenmarket, Farmer's market, whatever, which way? It's abundant, be always washed the farmers market basil because I tend to look for basil as a little bit younger, smaller leaves I find a little bit sweeter as you go into kind of late July, August September. The leaves basically get larger, more mature and a little too spicy for me, kind of like with baby arugula and exactly, Exactly. And so I add the basil to the food processor, not torn whole leaves, uh, pulse that a little bit, and I stream in three quarters cup extra virgin olive oil. It's a lot of oil. It's a lot of oil, but so, but they're sorry because there's a lot here, so you pulse it a few times to incorporate the basil. You don't overdo it. Don't overdo it. And then you keep the motor running as you stream in the basis of the L. A. Boil three quarters cup extra virgin olive oil. I will say, like I like to go for an olive oil that is more fruity. Lighter olive oil from the luxury region tends to taste like that compared to other olive oils that are really spicy and peppery. I don't want that because that tends to overwhelm the Pessotto altogether, so I tend to avoid that. So use your spicy, peppery olive oil to finish certain dishes. But don't use it here with the pesto. So as you're streaming to give us a sense of how steady or sort of tight of a stream, like, How long should that take? Not less than a minute. Yeah, it happens fairly quickly, and then I seasonal with some salt, about a teaspoon and a half. It needs it. Uh, even though you have, like the sultan is from the Parmesan, and then from there it's kind of ready to be used. So my question is, sometimes when you go to restaurants and I dont is, you know how sometimes you get the order like the fancy, like homemade fresh pasta, the proper deli, but kind of handkerchief. The ones you know and the pesto almost has a It looks like there's cream in it. It's creamy green, as opposed to bright, dark green. Are they adding something that I mean? It's exactly what I did, and I I have butter to it, mind you have, but I do. Do you do that once you cook that you cook your pasta al dente, and then you place the pesto in a large bowl. You're not bringing your not multiplying the pasta sauce or that you're not a multiplying the sauce here so you can find the al dente pasta pesto, and then I add two tablespoons unsalted butter. Do you do the pasta water thing? It takes a little bit of pasta water to you, I think. Half a cup? Not as much as like usually we're calling for one or 1.5 cups. Yeah, I mean, even with the amount of olive oil, it's still pretty thick. Yeah, so that's I mean, I will typically wanna make pesto at home, and I do a lot in the summer Times. It'll it'll almost be. I don't want to say chunky, but it's not a sauce, and I kind of put a big dollop in a serving bowl. And then before I add the pasta, I will do a splash of pasta water to the chunky pesto and kind of swirled about so it thins out and then I'll add the pasta. Yours is not that tight. It's very free flow. It's multi ified the pesto before you add the butter before you add the butter. Yeah, I mean, I What I usually do is I place the pesto, add the pasta, give a toss, see how much kind of pasta water I need. Uh, and the butter as well. The two tablespoons. But I don't think you need too much past the water with.