Because of its color, it took years for me to get my kids to eat pasta with pesto sauce. Pasta was one of their favorite foods, but only if it came in white. The girls even found red sauce undesirable for a long time, but green was completely out of the question. It was way too suggestive of the odious world of vegetables.
They finally sampled pesto due to peer pressure. It was often the case during their growing years that the girls would come home from a friend’s house raving about a food that they had rejected at home. Thanks to playdates and birthday parties, where they had to eat what other kids ate or face social extinction, my children sampled and grew to accept a longer list of foods. (Hallelujah.)
Once they tasted pesto, they did not look back. It was immediate love.
Green is the new white.
3 cups basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
2/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine the basil, garlic, walnuts and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Turn the processor on and add the oil in a slow stream until the mixture is a thick paste.
2. Pour the pesto into a bowl and mix in the cheeses and pepper. You will have about 2 ½ cups. You’ll need about a cup of pesto sauce for a pound of pasta.
Variations: You can adjust the quantities of nuts and cheeses, to your taste. You can try different herbs (parsley, mint, cilantro), or add a little grated lemon zest.