August 14th, 2007

food cooking tomato

Footnotes from the pesto jihad

True believers and knights of the pesto jihad now that there is one true recipe.
Garlic
Basil
Olive oil
Pine nuts
Parmesan Reggiano or at worst Gran Padano
Salt. Maybe.
Nothing. Else.
No cashew nuts. No sunflower oil. No hydrogenated anything. No potato.
There are more sinners against pesto than I care to mention. I'm not criticising rocket pesto or walnut pest or coriander pesto or anything else that confesses on the label that it's not the real thing; I'm dissing what Sacla produces for the UK and what comes in most jars. Sainsburys has done well for several years; the fresh green pesto they do is really pretty good, with few extraneous icky things. Waitrose didn't do a pesto worth the name till last year, but now they have a superb pesto - bright green with extra whole pine nuts in. Sainsburys has something similar but more expensive and in a pot you can't reseal - truly delicious though. The Jamie Oliver pesto in a jar and the own-brand Waitrose in a jar were both true to the recipe the last time I checked, though not a patch on fresh. The deli in Putney still does superb pesto too ;-)

And while I'm on food, a 'too good to live' nomination for lamentables for greeting worn out M40 travellers with not just a welcome cuppa but a delicious chili - thank you again!