Since its release in 2017, I hope you have heard of the new revolutionary cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat and its following Netflix series by the same name. Nosrat’s work boils all cooking down to four simple elements: Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat . Her philosophy is this, anyone can be a great cook if they can learn to master these four elements. While the cookbook contains wonderful recipes, Samin also explains in detail the use of salt, fat, acid, and heat in cooking. Her stories and years of experience helps any reader to not just follow a recipe but to learn how to cook from the ground up. Along with illustrations for New York Times author and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and forward by Michael Pollan, Samin pours out her heart and expertise to teach anyone how to master their own kitchen.
Growing up with my father as a chef as I talked about in my Father’s Day Blog I had the opportunity to try so many unique recipes and types of food. My dad’s chef friends would invite us to their restaurants and during trips to Austria as a child I was introduced to food from around the globe. Because of this, I love learning new techniques and new ways to cook. After watching the four-part Netflix series featuring Samin and her recipes, I fell in love with her style, love for cooking, and her techniques. This week I made her Basil Pesto recipe and I want to share this recipe with you all! Below you can find her recipe along with my notes from the process and pictures of my time in the kitchen! Also keep reading to learn about our next giveaway!
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 packed cups (about 2 big bunches) fresh basil leaves
1-2 garlic cloves, finely grated or pounded with a pinch of salt
½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and pounded
3 ½ ounces Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving (about 1 heaping cup)
The key to blending basil in a machine is to avoid overdoing it, because the heat the motor generates, along with oxidation that can occur from over chopping, will cause the basil to turn brown. So, give yourself a head start here, and run a knife through the basil first. Also pour half of the olive oil into the bottom of the blender or processor bowl to encourage the basil to break down into a liquid as quickly as possible. Then pulse, stopping to push down the leaves with a rubber spatula a couple of times a minute, until the basil oil becomes a fragrant, emerald-green whirlpool. To prevent over blending the basil, finish the pesto in a bowl. Pour the basil oil out into a medium bowl and add some of the garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan. Stir to combine, then taste. Does it need more garlic? More salt? More cheese? Is it too thick? If so, add a little more oil, or plan to add some pasta water. Tinker and taste again, keeping in mind that as the pesto sits for a little while, the flavors will come together, the garlic will become more pronounced, and the salt will dissolve. Let it sit for a few minutes, then taste and adjust again. Add enough olive oil to cover the sauce to prevent oxidation. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
For our recipe, we tossed the pesto with ziti bronze die pasta. This pasta is made with durum wheat semolina rather than bleached flour. Bronze die refers to the way the pasta is made, creating a better texture allowing the pasta to hold sauce better. Boil water and salt generously. Add pasta and cook for approximately seven minutes.
I also lightly toasted my pine nuts before moving on to make the basil oil. Don’t over roast these nuts!
The best method to finely chop garlic is to remove one clove with the paper still on. Slice off the top and bottom ends of the clove then smash with the flat side of your knife. This makes it much easier to remove the paper. Once you have just the clove, continue to smash with the flat side of your knife 2 or 3 more times. Then run the knife through a couple of times. That’s it!
I used a combination of parmesan and pecorino romano. The best way to shred the cheese is with a microplane. This method creates small and perfect shreds of cheese. It can also be used to grate your garlic!
I used fresh basil that I borrowed from my mother-in-law’s garden and chopped first before blending like Samin suggests. Be sure to remove any flowering blooms from the top of your basil to avoid a bitter flavor.
Mix it all together, pour over noodles, and top with cheese. Enjoy!
We are such big fans of Samin’s work, and we want you to be too! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org your favorite family recipe to win your own copy of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Giveaway opens Friday, June 21, 2019 and ends 12 PM Thursday, June 27, 2019. Must be 18 years old to enter. Only open to residents of the United States of America. Winner will be chosen at random. The winner will be notified by email on Friday, June 28, 2019. Only one entry per email address will be considered. If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen at random.