HAD too much spaghetti with red meat sauce loaded with slices of hotdog last Christmas season? It’s time to eat lighter and healthier—and that includes the kind of pasta that you eat. Move over, meat sauce; it is time for pesto sauce to shine.
Originating from Liguria, Italy, pesto sauce is traditionally made with fresh basil leaves, crushed garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese blended together in a food processor or blender into a paste. It is commonly used as a pasta sauce, but, today, it can also be used in so many other ways.
With the recent introduction of Doña Elena Pesto Sauce, utilizing pesto sauce in recipes is not so tedious anymore because you do not have to make pesto sauce from scratch to enjoy real pesto goodness. Packaged in bottles, the ready-to-use Doña Elena Pesto Sauce comes in three different variants—Classic Green Pesto Sauce, Red Pesto Sauce, and Ricotta & Smoked Provola Cheese Pesto Sauce.
All three variants can be used as:
• Pasta sauce. Simply cook pasta according to package directions. As the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. Heat up a pan, and add olive oil. Add minced garlic, chopped shrimps and sliced button mushrooms; then season to taste and fold in cooked pasta.
• Spread on bread. On pandesal, French baguettes, English muffin or even slices of loaf bread, a good spread of pesto sauce should provide enough flavor for the crunchy bread. Add grated cheese and taste it, and you’ve got a feast.
• Pizza sauce. Who says pizza sauce has to always be red and tomato based? Pesto goes better with seafood toppings. Spread pesto sauce sparingly on ready-to-cook pizza crust, sprinkle with grated cheese, top with sautéed or steamed squid rings, shrimps, clams or mussels, toast and enjoy.
• Salad dressing. Whisk pesto sauce with extra virgin olive oil, drizzle on a fresh garden salad, sprinkle with grated cheese and have your fill.
• Dipping sauce. Serve it alongside ketchup, mayonnaise and cheese sauce as dips for French fries, potato chips or toasted pita bread quarters.
Personally, when publicist Redge Jimenez-Lopez sent me samples of all three variants of Doña Elena Pesto Sauce, I used them as pasta sauce. All three variants turned out nice when I made Shrimp and Cheese Pasta with them, first using the Ricotta & Smoked Provola Cheese Pesto Sauce, then the Red Pesto Sauce and, finally, the Classic Green Pesto Sauce. I cooked spaghetti/penne/spiral pasta until al dente according to package directions. While the pasta was cooking, I made the pasta sauce, heating up olive oil in a pan, sautéing minced garlic until lightly toasted, adding peeled shrimps sliced in half and button mushrooms, then pouring in the contents of one bottle of pesto sauce, and cooking the mixture for a few minutes before tasting and seasoning with salt and pepper according to taste. Before serving, I sprinkled the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese. Perfect—and done in just a few minutes!
Doña Elena Pesto Sauce is exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Fly Ace Corporation, a leading food and beverage consumer goods company in the country, as part of its Mediterranean line. Doña Elena Pesto Sauce is available in major supermarkets, such as Landmark, Fishermall, Alabang Supermarket, Cash and Carry, Waltermart, Rustans, Shopwise, Unimart and selected Robinsons and Puregold branches.