Thursday 14 September – a good menu choice – BASIL PESTO

14 September is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.  There is a strong association of this feast with the wonderful herb Basil, Ocimum basilicum, which is named from the Greek word for “king… basileos”.

May I suggest for supper tonight pasta with basil pesto?  You can make it yourself, fresh if you have lots of basil leaves of you can simply buy some.  Pasta and basil pesto with a crisp Sauvignon blanc or Sancerre.

  • A few handfuls of basil leaves, the younger the better.
  • Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Sardo, grated.  Or just a lot of Parmigiano.
  • Cloves of garlic, hopefully not the weak-ass stuff you get in these USA
  • Pine nuts.. you can, or not, toast them.
  • Olive oil

Method 1: Put them into a processor and proceed.

Method 2: Put them into a large mortar and grind them together with a pestle (“pestare” means “crush”).

The traditional way takes elbow grease and patience.

Quality of the ingredients affects the outcome, especially with something like this.

What pasta to get?  Since the pasta is a major part of the dish, it should be good quality.   Bronze cut is preferred.  For the shape, I suggest something that has little ridges that can pick up the pesto.   Have some fun and get some cavatappi!  They look like corkscrews and they have ridges.  Of course there gnocchi are always gnice.  My experience is, however, is that gnocchi are like the little girl in the Wadsworth poem:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Thus, gnocchi.

Whatever you do, try to have the meal with others. Pray before your meals and offer also a thanksgiving afterward, together with the “Eternal Rest” prayer for those who have died.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Liz says:

    With pine nuts costing $25+ per pound ours was made with walnuts. (I do love pine nuts. I think I talked about them to the family as I was making it this last time.) I think our garlic is pretty good…it was fresh out of the garden back then and so was the basil. I think I will pull a jar out of the freezer and enjoy the goodness of summer. Happy Feast Day, Fr. Z.

  2. johntenor says:

    You are so right about gnocchi.

    Pre-made grocery store gnocchi are basically musket balls.

    On the other hand, I have had ethereal gnocchi that even covered bolognese sauce, were so light they almost floated off the plate…..

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