Have you ever made your own pesto sauce? As delicious as that vibrant green Genovese sauce can be out of a store-bought jar (a good brand, of course), it is even more amazing when made at home. The traditional recipe consists of fresh basil leaves (which of course is what makes it green), garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. The ingredients are slowly ground in a mortar and pestle until the creamy sauce is achieved. It’s truly foodie heaven.
Because I can’t seem to let things alone, I experimented with some fresh local ingredients to give the Italian pesto sauce a Mexican spin. In lieu of basil I used cilantro leaves, and the crumbly dry Mexican Cotija cheese took the place of Parmigiano-Reggiano. For the life of me I could not find pine nuts in any of the stores I looked — I’ve seen them before, but when I didn’t want to buy them, of course. So after a little research I found out that almonds make a great pesto ingredient, into the mix they went. Oh, and since I love spicing things up, I added a green chile too. In our house we prefer to eat corn pasta, and you can’t get much more Mexican than corn. I have to say that the results were pretty darn good, and my husband gave the pesto two thumbs up. It was surprising how much like traditional pesto the meal felt. The sauce was complex, creamy, nutty, and a tiny bit spicy. As I type this, another batch is sitting in the refrigerator. I think it’s safe to say that we love this Mexican twist on Italian pesto sauce.
The recipe for the Spicy Cilantro and Cotija Pesto Sauce can be found here, and the recipe for the Corn Pasta with Spicy Cilantro and Cotija Pesto is here. It would make a very tasty Meatless Monday lunch or dinner!
Hope everyone has a fantastic week ahead. And here’s a picture I shared on social media this week, it’s from my travels to the city of Bratislava in the country of Slovakia.