Don’t ask me why, but for some reason, some members of my “so-called” Italian family—who shall remain nameless—don’t like garlic. Simply shameful. To be totally accurate, let me qualify that a bit…or justify it as they do…they don’t like “too much garlic.” Now, where that falls on the scale of how much is too much garlic is open to interpretation…but in the case of my Dad, Jim—who shall remain nameless—he was not a big fan of Pesto because he thought it was too garlicky. Thus, my childhood was sans Pesto.
In all fairness, my Dad and his “much younger brother,” AKA my Uncle Bob—who shall remain nameless—did have to wear garlic around their necks as kids in order to stay healthy….so I can kinda, sorta understand how that may have skewed their affinity for this bulbous plant of Heaven. Understanding aside, this meant that Yours Truly never got to experience the incomparable taste of a sweet, garlicky, basily, parmesany, pine-nutty Pesto until I left home for college.
I was in law school when I first understood how Pesto is one of the greatest things on God’s green earth. Seriously, it’s one of those comfort foods…one of those things that releases an inordinate amount of Dopamine, that feel-good chemical that your body releases upon eating something amazing.
Enter: DePalma’s Italian Café, downtown Athens, Georgia, on October 3rd, during my third year of law school. I had gotten my hair cut earlier that day and the girl who cut my hair and I decided to go out on a dinner date that evening. I submit Exhibit A:
I don’t remember the details of how that date actually came about, but I do remember entering the warmth of the restaurant, the pitter-patter of rain hitting the sidewalk outside, sitting afore something I had never experienced before. It was a plate of homemade pasta, with a spiral of Pesto swirled on top. It was like a hypnotic spiral of Pesto that was telling me that I would love this dish for life. I submit Exhibit B:
And I have loved this dish ever since. Over the years, though, I have been refining my recipe…a little more cheese…a little less cheese, more olive oil…less olive oil, a little more garlic, a little less…to get it just right. After years of fine-tuning, I believe that the Pesto recipe I share with you is one of the most satisfying, perfectly-crafted combinations of ingredients that you will ever put in your mouth. My Dad did comment, “it’s not bad.” So you know it’s got to be amazing…because that was his way of saying, “I like it but I’m not going to admit it.” I know that to be true because that’s exactly what I would say. I submit Exhibit C:
What I like most about Pesto is how easy it is to make and its versatility. Completely made in about five minutes, you can use it in a number of ways: on pizzas, sandwiches and pasta. It’s great on toast, in eggs and with shrimp. You can use it in appetizers, main courses and on veggies. There are so many ways to use this adaptable sauce…the possibilities are truly endless. Plus, it freezes well…so make a little more and enjoy it at a moment’s notice.
I encourage you to invest five minutes of your time and make some Pesto…and when you do, please be sure to leave a comment and share the creative ways you have used this wonderfully satisfying sauce. I submit Exhibit Pesto: