I absolutely cannot and will not live without pesto in our house. The whole family loves this stuff. In my opinion, pesto is the best "go to" grocery item to create a meal that is not only packed with fresh herbs, but one that takes me straight to Rome with one sniff. I am sitting at a table for two on a busy piazza, a Vespa whizzes past. I am sipping a massive glass of Chianti and slurping copious amounts of papperdelle perfectly coated in basil pesto. That lasting divine oiliness that coats your lips. Crikey - I am there!
In Cape Town, South Africa, I attempted to make my own pesto as I had a huge herb garden! I could never quite get the ratios right would buy basil pesto from Pesto Princess - best product out there with the finest locally sourced ingredients. When I arrived in Toronto, I began my search. I started with grocery stores, from Whole Foods (who had freshly made basil pesto, not bad...) and moved to other grocery stores who did not stock fresh basil pesto, but had the bottled imported stuff. Arriving in winter means that farmers markets are not open where I could most likely find my treasures! I ended up at the next best thing or possibly the best thing ever? St. Lawrence Market. There is a fabulous pasta store right at the back corner on the upper level called St Lawrence Pizza & Ice Cream (No 36 on the market map). They make a great pesto! The massive bonus is the fresh pasta! The ricotta and spinach ravioli is really worth buying in truckloads. Try their spicy marinara and their bolognese sauce! Great for freezing.
I loved this pesto, but honestly, I still had not found the pesto that I could say, "yes", she is the one!!! I was in Costco.... it took me back to visiting a Makro in South Africa, just on a much larger scale and more shoppers. Costco has a house brand called Kirkland. On the shelf, stood a grand jar of Kirkland Basil Pesto. I could see that the colour was incredibly bright and almost lime green and it looked almost creamy. I got excited. This might be the one. I bought one jar. It was $13.99 excluding tax. Yes! It is the best pesto I've had in Canada. It is made with 100% imported Italian basil (Genovese Basil, grown in the Liguria region of Italy) thank you very much. No, its' not "fresh" but when you peel that silver strip off the top, you will know it's the real deal. I went to Rome right then. Please, don't buy it all, leave some for me!!!
I throw my basil pesto over linguine or papperdelle pasta (thick ribbons). Have it just like that or add lemon & black pepper chicken fillet strips, freshly sliced avocado and grated Grana Padano! Buon Appetito!