Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Dish. I'm Natasha Ho. And this week I want to talk about pesto.
The other day I was inside the house. I have a little Click to Grow garden and so you can stick different plants in there. I have a basil plant and it's been growing like crazy. And there's so much basil on it. My friend he came over and saw it and he was still like: "Still not enough basil to make pesto," which I thought was hilarious because there's so much but it's so true. Because every time I make a pesto, it's always like, where'd all that basil go.
So I want to talk about that. But I also want to talk even more broadly about sauces in general. So this, I think, is going to be the beginning of a series I'm doing on sauces. And each week, over the next few weeks, I'm going to be talking about some different sauces. We're going to start off by talking about some of those herb-based sauces, like your pestos or a chimichurri.
So with pesto, what is pesto? Pesto is an Italian sauce. Usually the base for it is basil, and then that's mixed together with things like parmesan cheese, some nuts, olive oil, garlic. Those are usually the signature flavors for making a pesto.
The reason I want to talk about this, though, is because one of the things that I learned in the kitchen is being able to convert the different ingredients in your pesto based on what you have in the kitchen. And really using the idea of pesto as the basis for creativity in the kitchen and being able to turn absolutely any kind of herb into a pesto.
So if you are in the kitchen and you're like, I really want to make a sauce, and I really want to elevate what it is that I'm cooking, but I don't have the exact ingredients that you typically use for pesto. Open yourself up to the creativity of other things that you can use in the same kind of equation for pesto.
So if you don't have basil, if you have Mint, you have oregano, you have extra parsley. I always have extra parsley in the kitchen. I've even used the tops of carrots. I've used beet greens before. You can use any kind of leafy soft textured herb that's sitting in your kitchen can be transformed into a basil.
If you don't have pine nuts, you can use walnuts, you could use almonds, you could use macadamia nuts. You could use pistachios. Olive oil. Olive oil works great. But if you have another kind of oil, you can always lean into using a different kind of oil. Parmesan cheese. You could have it in or leave it out. The garlic, obviously a wonderful flavoring. But if you don't like garlic, you could swap that for something else.
So really, it's an equation that you can kind of toss things in and out of to make it work for you. And the kinds of flavors that you like.
The same thing with your chimichurri. Chimichurri is another great one. It originates in South America, very commonly used in Argentine foods, Uruguay, you may even see it sometimes in Brazil or Chile. So that's another one, it's herb based sauce. The more of a vinegary type of flavored sauce, usually red wine vinegar mixed with your parsley and cilantro red onion. With making that sauce again, you can start to swap things in and out based on what it is that you have. The exact same thing I just talked about with what you can do with a pesto. You can take that same idea and apply it to making a chimichurri.
And this is a really great way to use up, when you have extra herbs in the house, use those up by cycling them into a sauce and you can use so much of them and get rid of them really, really quickly. So like my friend was saying, even with all the basil that I have still not enough to make pesto because it goes really, really quickly when you put those into a sauce. If you ever have extra herbs laying around or can't figure out how to use them up, definitely turn them into a sauce.
You can put them on pasta, of course. You can put it on a steak. You can put it on vegetables. You can use that and mix it with mayonnaise and turn it into a spread. You can put it on top of a toast or some type of crostini, so many different ways that you can use it, and it'll be absolutely delicious elevate the flavor of your food.
And, of course, help you make sure that you use up all that produce and none of it goes to waste.
So that is what I wanted to share with you guys today on making sauces. And I'll do back here again next week with more sauce for you. I'll see you soon. Bye.
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I'm Natasha Ho, a trained chef and avid traveler. I've studied culinary traditions from cuisines around the world, and I help food lovers learn how to cook a wide variety of meals that are consistently delicious so they can have more fun, ease and joy in their kitchen.