A simple recipe I learned at university:
- 1 jar shop bought pesto
- 1 teaspoon (optional)
Unscrew jar. Insert teaspoon (if using) into jar. Remove and lick clean. Weigh guilt, and repeat as necessary.
Pesto; Parmesan, pine kernels and basil. Call it Genovese pesto to distinguish it from its impersonators. Great on pasta and on toasted ciabatta, but clearly at its best just eaten furtively straight out of the jar.
Of course, jar pesto is not “real” pesto, as everybody knows. Real pesto has to be made with a pestle and mortar. It must only use Parmeggiano Reggiano, and extra virgin olive oil. It must have garlic and never lemon juice. That’s real pesto – you don’t mess with tradition.
Except of course that everyone does. Sometimes its made with parsley. Or coriander, or rocket. With pecorino as well as parmesan. With sundried tomatoes, or walnuts, or mint and pistachios. The notion of the one true, pure pesto is often invoked, but far more often completely ignored.
This deconstructed pesto canape is not traditional, but has a purity of concept. Parmesan, pine kernels, basil. No bread or pasta to interfere with the flavours – just like eating it straight off the spoon.