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Make a change from the usual pesto sauce and try the French pistou version on pasta.
Have You Tried Pistou?
With pesto being so popular in many dishes, not the least pasta, maybe it’s time to try something a little different.
Pistou sauce, as I understand it, originates in France and it’s their version of the Italian pesto sauce. It does contain ingredients that pesto does not, and in my opinion, makes the sauce more flavorful.
Pistou is herb based, just like pesto, but it contains other herbs besides basil. The basil flavor isn’t strong as it is in the Italian version, which would probably make it more family friendly than a totally basil-based sauce.
Creme fraiche is a common and low-cost ingredient in Europe so it’s widely used.
We can get it here in the USA but it’s pricy and many times it’s hard to find in the store. It’s generally not in the regular dairy department; it’s usually with the imported cheeses for some reason.
I find the taste and texture quite a lot like our regular sour cream so if you don’t want to invest in the real thing, it’s pretty safe to use as a substitute. The same holds true for Europeans who cannot find sour cream–just substitute creme fraiche.
There are a few ways to make your own. One is to take a cup of heavy cream and add 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. You let that stand, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours. It won’t “spoil” because the bacteria in it is the so-called “good” kind that inhibits spoilage.
My preferred way is to take equal amounts of sour cream and heavy cream mixed together. I use one cup of each, mix then refrigerate for 30 minutes. This is easy, you don’t have a long wait for it and it’s as close to the real thing as you can get. Try it on fresh fruit too. It’s delicious!
Always Use Fresh
This recipe necessitates the use of fresh herbs. The variety the pestou sauce uses are very common and if you have a windowsill herb garden, I bet you grow them.
They are also readily available in the produce department of the supermarket. As I said, the herbs are very common and if you have leftovers, they can be used in many other meals so they won’t go to waste.
- 4 tbs roughly chopped Italian parsley
- 4 tbs roughly chopped fresh basil
- 2 tbs roughly snipped fresh chives
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 lemon juice only
- 1 cup crème fraîche see NOTES
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10½ oz linguine pasta
- knob of butter
- 16 oz crimini mushrooms sliced
- 2 tbs grated Parmesan
- To make the pistou sauce: Place all the pistou ingredients in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cook linguine per package directions; drain and reserve 2 tbs of the pasta water.
- In a wok or deep frying pan, melt the butter over high heat and add the mushrooms, stirring to prevent burning. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Remove lid and cook over the high heat until the liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the pistou sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and reserved water. Toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the Parmesan and the mushrooms and toss. Serve immediately.