Basil-lovers, rejoice! Thanks to some thoroughly Italian legislation, travelers flying from Genoa, Italy won’t have to worry about how to smuggle the region’s famed pesto in carry-on luggage. There is no longer a risk of having to toss out your magnificent pesto at the security checkpoint. But here’s the catch, according to NPR: You can keep your precious jar if you make a charitable donation of €0.50 ($0.56 USD) to the Flying Angles Foundation. The jar will then be stamped like a passport, and passed through the scanner. Now that you’ve filled your carry-on luggage with pesto, get cooking with these recipes!
Recipe: Beet Salad With Pesto
I find the sweet, earthy flavor of beets is well complemented by this fresh herbal pesto, highlighted with fresh mint and thickened with pumpkin seeds. It’s a full-flavored salad with ravishing colors that’s right at home on a fall table.
Make the polenta on Sunday, and you can enjoy it all week long. A quick scramble of pesto-laced eggs and some seared vegetables will get your day off to a seriously well-fed start. The polenta can be a great swap for grains in other bowls, too, and these toppings work just as well with amaranth or teff.
I first had gnocchi in an Italian restaurant near my house, and I had to find out all about it: where it was from, how it was made, and its variations. The owners told me that they used mashed potatoes and other ingredients to make the teeny pillows of heaven. I really wanted to put them in this book, but I needed a quicker method, so I threw tradition to the wind and made up my own version with flour and mascarpone, drawing on British dumplings for inspiration. These are great to make in bulk and freeze raw. These gnocchi are very versatile, so you can also try experimenting with other sauces, such as the all’arrabiata from Everyday Easy.
Polenta: It’s not just that soft, creamy stuff you eat all winter to stay alive. Rather than making yet another pasta dish, I often bake up a sheet of flavor-infused polenta — with fresh herbs, Parmesan rind, bacon or garlic — and use it as a substitute for noodles. This play on lasagna combines pungent blue cheese, pesto and savory caramelized onions for a creamy polenta casserole that needs nothing more than a simple salad beside it.
Recipe: Linguine With Pesto
While vacationing with Gloria and her mother, Julia, in Puerto Rico, where Julia was born, I spotted a small restaurant that looked inviting. A young woman who was the chef came out to talk to me, and we went there for dinner. She had cilantro pesto on her menu. Gloria and I loved it, and I have since made my version of the dish many times when cilantro and chives come up in my garden.