Recipe for Pesto

Recipe for Pesto


The following dialogue is my dad explaining a recipe he has learned over the years for pesto, one of my family’s favorite foods. When they immigrated from Cuba, my family moved into a Chicago neighborhood where they had Italian neighbors they became close with through cooking. My family would cook for and share Cuban recipes with them, and they would do the same with their Italian recipes. My dad, who has loved to cook since a young age, picked up some of his Italian neighbors’ recipes, even though he was about eleven years old when they became neighbors. This is his recipe for pesto today, as it has changed and evolved through the years.




“First, you buy flat Italian parsley, pine nuts, garlic, of course, and olive oil.


Then, you take about a cup of fresh Italian parsley, and you put it in the food processor to chop it all up nicely. And then you chop about two garlic cloves—you peel them and put them into the food processor.


So, you’ve put the Italian parsley and garlic in and chopped it all up, then you take about two tablespoons of pine nuts, and you add that to the garlic and the parsley.


Then you put salt and pepper to taste, and then you put a cup of olive oil, which turns it into a liquid, and then you put about a quarter cup of parmesan cheese—all in the food processor, all of this stuff you just keep adding on—and then it basically becomes a think like liquid paste, and you serve it with pasta.”