Monday, March 10, 2014

Linguine With Ligurian Pesto

According to the recipe notes for "Linguine with Ligurian Pesto" (page 201), Pesto, the famous basil sauce, originated in Liguria, where it is more mellow than most of the pesto made in America.  This is because in Liguria the basil is both milder and more tender, the olive oil is lighter and fruitier, and the garlic is smaller and milder. I struggled philosophically with changing this recipe to make it oil free, since it would appear that the Ligurian olive oil is an integral component to the dish. In the end, I decided to swap out the olive oil for a light veggie broth, and use my imagination to transport myself to Italy. As I've mentioned before, pesto is so easy to make without oil, and in my opinion, it's a shame that the authentic recipes call for so much! (This recipe calls for ½ cup, and urges you to find the authentic Ligurian variety if possible). Pine nuts add a hefty amount of natural oil, and using veggie broth provides the additional liquid, so I have never missed the olive oil in what I considered an over-oiled sauce to begin with. This dish goes together fast, consisting of just the pesto (made from pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic, salt, vegan parmesan (purchased or homemade), and in my case, veggie broth) and the cooked linguine. Buon Appetito!

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü     Substitute ½ cup light veggie broth for the olive oil.
ü     Use whole grain linguine.


  1. Hm, I have never been a 'pesto purist'. The recipe does sound good, and your changes probably improve it, plus make it easier to taste the basil and garlic, which is never a bad thing.

    My own recipe for pesto (when I was a vegetarian, not yet vegan, and still eating oil) was with 2/3 swiss chard and 1/3 basil, lots of garlic, parmesan, hot water and a little oil to emulsify. Sometimes I added walnuts, and sometimes not.

    Now, I'd probably make the same thing with 2/3 swiss chard, 1/3 basil, a handful of pine nuts or walnuts, hot water and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

    1. HI Danielle! I have been quite pleased to discover that pesto is both easier and more versatile with the ingredients than I ever imagined! I'm a new fan, that's for sure! :-) I like the idea of adding nutrititional yeast, I will definitely have to try that soon! Thanks for stopping by!