About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

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Pesto by the Food Processor Method


Today we get to make Pesto. I love pesto. I've made it many times, and always by the food processor method. I'll give you a little history of pesto that Marcella explains in her book. It is the sauce the Genoese invented for the use of their very fragrant basil. The components of their pesto are olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, butter and grated cheese. And of course the basil. You don't cook or heat pesto (except on occasion when adding it to things such as soup). The word "pesto" comes from the verb pestare, which means to pound or grind. So Genoese cooks say if it's not made with a mortar and pestle, it's not pesto. That probably is the best way to make it, but many of us are too lazy or don't have a mortar and pestle to use. So we can make this version I've made that uses the food processor. It's very fast and easy to make, and has that alluring fragrance and taste that all good pestos have.

In this method you put basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and salt in the food processor and process to a creamy consistency. You transfer it to a bowl, and stir in grated romano cheese and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. You then mix in softened butter. I was very suprised to see the butter as an addition. I had never heard of that. But it did make the sauce creamier and it coated the pasta better. Marcella suggests serving the pesto on dried spaghetti or a homemade fresh fettuccine. I was planning on using spaghetti until I went to pull it from the pantry and discovered I was out. Instead, I used a pici pasta that I bought at the local Italian market. It was a fantastic meal.

Comments (8)


Cindy, my Milan-born cousin also uses butter at the end--and I agree, it does make the pesto creamier, and also balances out any harshness from the garlic, oil and nuts.


Your photo makes me smile. I can smell the deliciousness, the basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts& cheeses....perfetto!

I'm having great success growing basil right now. I'll have to give this a whirl :)

Rah! Rah!

Cindy, I wish I had a bowl of that right now!


Cindy, you have inspired tonight's dinner. I have some beautiful basil right now--lush, green, lovely. Just yesterday I commented that I really should make pesto. and then--voila, this post. Haven't made it before but I think I can do it. Yum yum.

Jane- Perfect! It's so easy to make also. It doesn't get hot enough here to grow basil except in a greenhouse, which I don't have. Hope you enjoy it.

I don't have a food processor. Guess I'll wait for the pesto by the mortar method.

Marcella Hazan:

I have come in for a lot of criticism for using butter. "She doesn't know, she wasn't born in Liguria" said Sam Gugino in The Wine Spectator many years ago. And there have been many others. The fact is that not only did I spend a lot of time in Liguria, but one of my closest friends was a Marchese Giuseppe Gavotti who was a native of Genoa, and the Secretary General of the august Accademia della Cucina Italiana, an august body that researches and vouches for the authenticity of Italian cooking. It was Gavotti who put me on to using butter with pesto.

You pesto looks terrific, Cindy. I don't see the green beans and sliced potatoes. Did you decide to omit them?

David, how about using the blender, as I once used to do.

Marcella-It's a shame to hear the trouble others gave you about adding butter to the pesto. I really enjoyed that version-richer, and clinged to the pasta better.

My recipe to make was just the Pesto by the food processor method. Tomorrow will be the mortar method, then on Saturday will be the Pasta and Pesto with Green Beans and Potatoes (which, by the way, I think sounds fabulous).

I think I'm going to have pesto on the weekend. And risotto. And drunken pork.

Did I tell you how much I enjoy this blog and Marcella's interaction?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 10, 2010 6:01 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Tomato and Anchovy Sauce.

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