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The Delicious Daily Grind

The Delicious Daily Grind
Photos by Jonathan Boncek

From the italian word pestare, meaning to pound or to crush, pesto’s nomenclature is indicative of the fact that it was originally made by crushing its ingredients in a mortar with a pestle. You can
certainly make it the old-fashioned way—all that arm work might earn you an extra dollop on your pasta. Here, we make it in a food processor because it yields a faster and more consistent result. However you make it, pesto is a summer wonder—vibrant in color, creamy in texture, potent in flavor. A little goes a long way. But a lot goes further, so eat on up and invite friends and family to join you (Italians would approve). Traditional pesto is made with fresh basil, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil, and the traditional is dynamite. But it is also just a template. The act of grinding ingredients is what makes a pesto a pesto, and any herb can be crushed with any nut—parsley-walnut, arugula-macadamia, and mint-pistachio. Just hit up your herb garden and clip whatever you have in abundance, then experiment. Because there are so few ingredients, use the highest quality of each—it makes a difference. You can toss the finished product in pasta, of course, but also spread it on pizza or chunks of fresh baguette, give your vegetables a drizzle or a dip, or thin it out and toss a summer salad. And just so we are clear: it is perfectly fine to eat pesto with a spoon.

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