Pesto Dell'uomo Povero (Poor Man's Pesto)

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“This is not authentic, traditional or even pesto. A cheaper alternative to the traditional as well as a way to get rid of leftover bread, herbs and cheese. Jaucque Pepin commonly uses a topping of bread crumbs almonds and cheese which can be added with the herbs and oil to achieve the same thing. The french use bread crumbs or potato flakes instead of nuts when making rouille. This lacks the creamy depth of pesto made with pine nuts or cashews but can be easily subsituted for the bread crumbs. Best used as a last minute topping for grilled chicken, sausage and white beans, hot soup, potatoes, green beans or fresh tomatoes”
1 cup

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 12 cup hard white bread (stale and toasted broken into medium crumbs)
  • 2 cups fresh herbs such as basil or 2 cups a combination Italian parsley, thyme, tarragon, arugula, basil etc
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 12 cup olive oil, plus as much needed to complete consistency
  • 13 cup hard dry cheese such as parmigiano (manchego, romano, a harder emmental or a combination)
  • 12 tablespoon fresh grated citrus zest such as lemons (completely optional) or 12 tablespoon orange (completely optional)
  • salt


  1. Take a leftover loaf of stale french or italian bread. Crush but not to small and toast in oven untill light brown not burnt. It is very important that the bread is dry to create the right consistency not mush.
  2. Tear and chop fresh herbs (remembers some herbs are more potent than others so use caution) .
  3. Toast garlic cloves with skin on in a skillet until slightly tender, seven minutes. remove skins.
  4. Fresh garlic is fine but toasting it seems to help rid some of its effects (If using fresh use less).
  5. Grate the cheese.
  6. Combine ingredients in a blender and pulse.
  7. While pulsing slowly drizzle oil in until consistency has reached a very thick sauce or to the consistency you desire.
  8. Add zest and salt to personal taste.
  9. Use fresh this does keep for a day or so. If kept to long bread crumbs get soggy and that makes a gross mushy mess.

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