pesto ginovese

The classic Pesto Genovese is made with basil leaves, lemon, olive oil, and pine nuts. This cilantro version is a little zippier than its Italian cousin. The London gin adds a crisp tang and creates the pun for the title.

  • 8 oz nonfat <butter>
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1½ oz dry gin
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves and stems
  • 8 cloves garlic, whole
  • 8 scallions, diced
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne chile
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp <salt>
  • 3 oz pine nuts
  • 2 oz walnuts
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Warm the nonfat <butter> in a microwave until just melted. Put all the liquids in a blender and begin to add everything else. Start with the cilantro, garlic, and scallions. Add the seasoning, nuts, and finish with the Parmesan. Store this in a jar in your refrigerator for at least a day before use.

Stir and add to hot cooked pasta according to your taste.

Serves 6.

Hemp Seed Pesto ✠

Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Although marijuana comes from the same plant, hemp seeds only contain a trace amount of the active ingredient in marijuana, and they will not get you high. On the contrary, hemp seeds are entirely safe and, in fact, very healthy to eat. The internet is rife with articles extolling their benefits. I like it because it is not only nutritionally beneficial and healthy, but because it tastes wonderful and has very little carbohydrates. Its downside is that it is fairly expensive in my supermarket.

I found the following recipe printed on the first package I bought. It boasted a flavorful sauce that would be a great substitute for the regular pine-nut pesto found in Italians dishes. I have altered the recipe a little to reduce the fat and salt content, but, true to its word, I found it delightful on my pasta substitutes, such as spaghetti squash and Zoodles. I found it also very good when used as a dip for raw vegetable hors d’oeuvres (crudités).

  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup hemp seed hearts
  • ¼ cup grated Asiago (or Parmesan) cheese
  • 1 large clove garlic, puréed
  • 1 oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz water
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum

Put the olive oil, water, and xanthan gum in a blender and mix on medium speed.

Combine basil, hemp seed, Asiago cheese, and garlic in a small bowl, mix, and then slowly add to the blender until a smooth paste has formed, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Makes 1 cup.