Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pesto alla Genovese

When I was going through our overflowing pantry recently, I noticed this bottle of pesto alla Genovese that was expiring soon. Apparently I had bought it from Trader Joe's almost 18 months earlier, thinking it would come in handy for a quick/shortcut meal, and then it got buried in the back of the pantry. This wasn't the first time I had bought the pesto. I think we previously used it on a pizza in place of tomato sauce, but I wanted to try doing something different with it this time.

(Ingredients, but ignore the tomatoes; I didn't end up using them)

I decided to make some pasta with a vegetable pesto sauce (which I only realized later had probably been inspired by Trader Joe's frozen pesto pasta dish). For the sauce, I sauteed some mushrooms, onions, and zucchini, and then mixed in the pesto sauce and let it cook for a bit covered at a low temperature. We then put the sauce on top of a bed of vegetable penne.

The pesto sauce was okay, but it definitely didn't have as much flavor as we thought it would. The main ingredients of the pesto were basil, oil, potatoes, grana padano cheese, pecorino romano cheese, cashews, pine nuts, and garlic, but considering that basil was the first ingredient, there was barely any basil flavor to the pesto. It didn't have strong flavors of anything at all. Maybe that was because it was nearing the end of its usable life, but I don't think that's entirely it. My memory of this pesto from the pizza experiment was that it was a little on the salty and heavier side, but not exceptionally strong in basil flavor then either. If we're going to use a pesto for a dish like this, we would prefer it to have more flavor.

Buy again? Not likely. We have heard that the refrigerated pesto has more flavor, so maybe we'll try that one sometime.

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