Peruvian Pesto, also called, “Tallarines Verdes” (green noodles), is a sauce portraying a beautiful hue of green so delicious and velvety, you can eat it by the spoonfuls.
My Tía Renee would make this sauce and for me, it was one of the best pasta dishes ever. What differentiates this from the Italian version?
Well, this version is made with basil, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and feta. Feta cheese is what makes this Peruvian Pesto amazing! Pine nuts weren’t common in Peru therefore, they were not used.
A food processor was unthinkable. I don’t think my family knew what that was back then or if it was as available as it is today. Instead, we had a good old fashioned blender that created a rich, smooth sauce. That thing was a workhorse!
I would watch my Tía Renee set everything up in the blender. Of course it’s not like a food processor where you pulse all the ingredients except for the oil then drizzle the oil in until you have a smooth sauce. No. That is not how it worked. It was a blender and after filling it up with the ingredients she would start it on low then turn it up to high speed. She would grab the handle and shake it to move the solids down towards the blade. Then she would stop it, push everything down with a spatula, then start it up again shaking the glass container and mumbling something in Spanish. It was funny to watch.
Maybe that memory is the reason I still use my blender today rather than my food processor. How lucky we are to have these appliances to make our lives easier. My mom told me her grandmother used to make it with mortar and pestle! If you prefer to use your food processor then by all means…
Gather your basil leaves and quickly rinse in hot water. We would do this to slightly wilt the greens.
Pour the olive oil into the blender. Add the garlic cloves. We like it garlicky so we use three or four medium cloves. Maybe you would like to start with two.
Add in the basil leaves, salt, pepper, and feta. Blend it all up until you have a smooth, velvety, sauce. You may need to shake the blender and say something in Spanish to get it going. My kids can eat this by the spoonfuls. It’s creamy and thicker than Italian Pesto.
Mix it with your pasta and serve. You may also use this pesto on pizza, pasta salads, add it to mayonnaise, or whatever you like.
I urge you to give this a try.
Thanks for visiting…
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 - 3 medium garlic cloves
- 3 cups packed basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt - or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- Quickly, gently, rinse the basil leaves in warm/hot water and drain.
- If using a food processor, pulse all ingredients except the oil then drizzle in the oil and process until you have a smooth sauce.
- If using a blender, add in your ingredients and blend until smooth stopping as needed to push down ingredients.
- Serve with your favorite pasta.
- ¡Al ataque!