Pesto presto! One of my favorite ways to eat my medicine.
Pesto, simply means ground in a mortar and pestle. There are so many varieties it is a virtual taste exploration in healing condiments! The common thread that weaves through all the pesto varieties is herbs and olive oil. That is even changeable, but olive oil’s wonderful flavor and health benefits are truly amazing and that makes it my oil of choice for this use.
The health benefits, versatility and longevity of a good pesto, makes it so easy to have a few different varieties on hand for different flavors and medicinal purposes. The aromatic herbs traditionally used in pesto make it an easy go to for digestive, respiratory and immune system health.
One of the original recipes for pesto came from Genovese Italy, recorded around the mid 1800’s. The ubiquitous taste of Genovese basil (Ocimum basilicum), garlic (Allium sativum), olive oil, pecorino cheese and the later addition of pine nuts from that area…YUMMY. Not to mention the powerful anti-oxidant, herbal healing from the basil and garlic to fight off a wide range of illness, aid in digestion, preserve meats and make everything taste amazing!
Here is my recipe take on this classic pesto Genovese;
1 fist full bunch of fresh Genovese (or similar) BASIL washed, dried and destemned.
4-6 med /large cloves fresh GARLIC
Small handful walnut meats, pine nuts* (make sure they are FRESH) or pistachios.
1/2 cup EVOO make sure you are using a good quality and tasting olive oil.
Juice of 1/2 lemon or whole if small.
1 t sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Add 1/4 c fresh grated pecorino Romano if desired, toward the end of prep.
Blend together in a food processor on pulse mode, then 1 min full speed. If using a blender start with the garlic and oil with the nuts, blend, then add the remaining ingredients. If using the traditional marble/stone morter and pestle, start with the garlic and nuts and/or cheese, then add the basil. Pound together and stir in EVOO after. Stores for weeks jarred and refrigerated.
Use on pasta, fish, wild game, chicken, turkey (especially great), sandwiches, soups, all sorts of vegetable dishes and more. Try a dollop on a clam linguine or grilled eggplant and zucchini.
* Pine nuts in commerce are usually if not always rancid. Volatile oils in the seed meats are oxidized quickly after shelling. So if you are lucky enough to live in a pine tree area, collect and shell yourself for an extraordinary treat!
The origins of this amazing sensation is South America. Strong historical emphasis in Argentina, where the cuisine is rich in meat dishes that feature this condiment. Similar recipes abound with some various takes depending on local.
The healing herbal combination of oregano (Oreganum vulgare), cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), parsley (Petroselenium crispum), chili (Capsicum sp), garlic (Allium sativum) and in my recipe ACV (sometimes pre made fire cider). Chimichurri is a virtual powerhouse of anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, immune boosting, anti-oxidant and flavor enhancing greatness, whew! Treat your respiratory, fungal or digestive agues and hasten the symptoms of colds and flus with this tasty medicine.
Here is my take on chimichurri;
Take equal size bunches of fresh parsley and cilantro (coriander leaves) washed, dried and de-stemmed.
About half-3/4 the amount of fresh oregano de-stemmed
4-6 cloves garlic
1-3 whole red chili’s of choice de-stemmed (depending on spice preference) fresh or dried.
1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar or a pre-made fire cider without honey
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1tsp sea salt
Blend together in food processor or blender on pulse until desired consistancy is reached. If to dry add more vinegar and a little more oil. Stores well for weeks refrigerated in a jar.
Used on a multitude of dishes..wild game, steaks to any sea food, (grilled lobster anyone), any vegetable or grain, soups, sandwiches and so much more.
There you have it my friends, a couple of pesto delights to get you inspired in the kitchen. The varieties are endless! Try wild greens pesto, add fresh arugula or your favorite garden greens. Use nuts or spices to add your personal touch to these recipes or venture out and make an entirely new one. Enjoy the pleasure of pesto and EAT YOUR MEDICINE!
Look for individual herb monographs to come @ woodshealingkitchen.com … Buon appetito!