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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Pasta with Pesto Sauce

    I tried following your recipe for Pasta Alla Genovese on the website - both the pasta (with potatos and beans) and the pesto sauce. However, the pesto sauce had a terribly strong odour and taste of basil. Was wondering how to correct that and where I went wrong. Any tips? Thanks.

    From the nigella team:

    The fresh pesto sauce may have a stronger taste of basil that a sauce purchased from a supermarket and this is partly as some commercially produced pesto sauces may use a combination of basil plus milder herbs, such as parsley. Also sometimes the basil leaves for commercial pesto will be blanched (briefly submerged in boiling water then cooled very quickly with ice water) so that their colour stays bright green, but the flavour may become more muted.

    Many people like the taste, but if you find it to be too strong it is fairly easy to tone the basil down by halving the quantity of basil in the pesto recipe (leave all of the remaining ingredients at the same quantities). The sauce may seem slightly thinner but this is fine. The other alternative would be to replace some of the basil with baby spinach leaves (the small, very soft type, removing any stems before using). This will give a thicker green sauce with less basil flavour.

    The link to the recipe is below.

    http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/pasta-alla-genovese-5162

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