Pesto is most commonly interpreted as a mixture of crushed basil, garlic, cheese, nuts and olive oil, but this simple technique can be applied to so many other ingredients.
By Kathy Bechtel
We see many varieties on our cycling tours in Italy – lots of basil, but also white asparagus, zucchini, pea and mint.
- A few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 head radicchio, chiffonade
- ½ onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Handful toasted walnuts
- A few tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ to ⅔ cup grated cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Place the cut radicchio in a small bowl of cold water and allow to sit for 30 minutes. This will remove some of the bitterness. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Place 1 tablespoon olive oil into a sauté pan, and heat over medium heat. Add the radicchio and onion, and sauté until soft and dry and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer into blender.
- Add the toasted nuts and pulse to chop. Add enough olive oil and heavy cream to reach the consistency you desire. Transfer to a small bowl, and combine with grated cheese. Season to taste.
Kathy Bechtel’s obsession with food and cooking began as a teenager. After years following a traditional career path as a telecommunications engineer, she left to attend culinary school and wine training, and is now combining her passions for food and wine, the outdoors, and travel as owner and Culinary Tour Director of Italiaoutdoors. In this role, Kathy leads small bicycle, skiing and walking tours that explore the authentic regional cuisines, local products and undiscovered wines of Northeastern Italy.