After Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house this year, I had my Grandma and Aunt Margie explain some of the traditional Christmas foods that come from their side of the family, the Kulhays. Like many of the early 20th century immigrants in the Cleveland area, the Kulhays are from Hungary. I picked four Christmas staples: Székelygulyás, Sauerkraut Balls, Töltöttkáposzta, and Christmas Jello. After the videos, Grandma and Aunt Margie graciously opened their cookbooks and shared their recipes.
There are so many variations of pesto these days that it is almost a catch-all title for green sauces. I’m not against that, but it is hard to know what to expect when someone says pesto. I prefer the simplicity of the classic version, both in taste and ease of preparation.
Classic pesto is made with fresh basil, garlic, pinenuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil all ground together with a mortar and pestle.
I don’t have a mortar and pestle large enough to do this, so I use my awesome food processor to make it. You could also use a blender.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup raw pinenuts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Put the fresh basil leaves, garlic, cheese, and pinenuts in the food processor, put on the top, and turn it on. Slowly pour the olive oil in through the drip hole while the food processor is running. Stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula if needed. After the pesto looks like a paste, turn it off and add in the salt and pepper. Pulse it a few times to combine. If the pesto is too thick, add some more olive oil.
Pesto is best made fresh and consumed right away. If you do need to save it for a few days, put it in a jar and put a 1/4 inch of olive oil on top of it to protect it.
How to use it
- Toss with pasta and cherry tomatoes
- Toss with zucchini noodles and grilled chicken (what Amanda and I did with the pictured pesto)
- Spoon over fresh, crispy french fries
- Spoon over soft scrambled eggs
- Use in place of red sauce on pizza
How I used it: