Genovese Pesto

Genovese Pesto

“This is the OG of pestos, hailing from Genoa in Liguria. It’s traditionally made by hand using a marble mortar and wooden pestle, but it’s hard to find that amazingly tender Genovese basil in the US, so I opt to use a blender instead. I realize that it’s contradictory to talk about the great Genovese pesto and how much I love mortars and pestles and then make mine in a blender. The main reason is the basil. Genovese basil is a DOP basil grown in Liguria. Its leaves are small, thin, compact, and so tender. The basil has no option but to become a smooth sauce in the mortar. Our American basil is a bit heartier, so I think it works best in the blender, which aerates the pesto, creating an uber-light spread. Of course, if you find Genovese basil, try it in the mortar and pestle! My favorite part of this recipe is the technique for soaking the basil and parsley in ice water, which helps the herbs plump up a bit and absorb some of the water. This aids in emulsifying the pesto, and it also prevents the leaves from bruising and turning black from the friction of the blender, locking in the best green color and fresh flavor.” - Chef Sarah Grueneberg

From Listen to Your Vegetables by Sarah Grueneberg and Kate Heddings. Copyright © 2022 by Green Mountain Collection, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


Makes 2 cups

2 tablespoons pine nuts

¾ cup everyday olive oil

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves (from about 4 ounces fresh basil)

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (from ½ bunch)

1 small garlic clove

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

Kosher salt


CHEF SARAH RECOMMENDS: I always toast pine nuts in a skillet. I like this technique better than toasting in the oven because the nuts toast more evenly.

Now that you have mad pesto skills, have fun with the herb and nut combinations. I love to add mint to this pesto in the summer—you can sub mint for all the basil for a mint pesto, or for half the basil for a summer herb pesto.

1. In a small nonstick skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, tossing or stirring continuously, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

2. Place the olive oil in the freezer until chilled, at lest 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. Submerge the basil and parsley in it. Let soak for 5 minutes.

3. Remove the oil from the freezer and transfer to a blender along with the garlic. Working in two batches, lift the herbs from the ice water, shaking most of the excess water from the leaves (not all; a bit of water will make a smooth pesto) and add to the blender. Blend on high speed until combined, then repeat with the remaining herbs. Set the bowl of ice water aside. Finally, add the cheeses, pine nuts, and a pinch or two of salt and blend on high until the pesto is smooth.

4. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and place the bowl in the ice bath. Stir the pesto and chill until cold. Transfer the pesto to an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. To store the pesto in the freezer, apply a small piece of plastic wrap directly on its surface, sealing it from the air in the top of the container. The pesto freezes beautifully for up to 3 months. I like to freeze it in 1-cup servings, as I often use 1 cup at a time.

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Pallotte Verdi (Kale & Bread Meatless Meatballs)

Pallotte Verdi (Kale & Bread Meatless Meatballs)

“I first learned about these meatless meatballs on a visit to an amazing agriturismo (working farm) in Abruzzo. I had one of my top 10 meals ever at La Porta dei Parchi in Anversa degli Abruzzi, though the food was super humble. When I tried their pallotte, made with just bread, milk, eggs, and cheese and lightly fried, I realized how truly special these “meatballs” are. They represent the best of cucina povera—simple peasant cooking born from using what is available.  I like making mine with kale (it sneaks in some healthful deliciousness, as well as a nice color!) and fresh chile, and I like the crunch from deep-frying. Don’t skip the fresh tomato sauce, which is bright and acidic and helps the pallotte sing.” - Chef Sarah Grueneberg

From Listen to Your Vegetables by Sarah Grueneberg and Kate Heddings. Copyright © 2022 by Green Mountain Collection, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


Makes 18 pallotte; serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons everyday olive oil 

2 tablespoons minced fresh red chile (like finger or Fresno chiles), or 1 tablespoon Calabrian chile paste or sambal oelek 

3 garlic cloves, minced 

2 medium bunches of Tuscan kale, washed and stemmed 

Kosher salt 

1 pound Italian-style bread, diced into 1-inch pieces (8 cups) 

2 cups whole milk 

2 large eggs 

4 ounces Manchego cheese, shredded with the large holes of a box grater (1 cup) 

½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano 

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar


2 quarts neutral oil, for frying 

4 cups fine dry breadcrumbs 

Fresh Tomato Sauce (page 391) 

¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, for garnish 

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 

2 fresh oregano sprigs, for garnish


CHEF SARAH RECOMMENDS: “For best results, I like to use a dense Italian-style loaf of bread here. Look for a filone or Tuscan-style loaf. Most Italian bakeries will have something that will work. Ciabatta will be too light and airy. 

I think this is a winner for vegetarians. It’s versatile enough to add any leafy green you like, even broccoli, but I suggest sticking with a green veg so it’s a good match with the cheese.”

1. Make the palotte. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chile and garlic and toast until golden, about 1 minute. Add the kale and cook, stirring often, until wilted and softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a few pinches of kosher salt. Transfer the kale to a strainer or colander set in a bowl to let any excess liquid drip off for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and roughly chop the kale mixture.

2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, cover the bread with the milk. Using your hands (I like to wear gloves), combine the bread and milk; you can also pulse them in a food processor until the bread has softened and takes on an oatmeal-like texture. Add the chopped kale and mix to combine. Mix in the eggs, Manchego, pecorino, oregano, and vinegar. If you find the mixture is too wet and sticky, add a bit of dry breadcrumbs.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, scoop the mixture (roughly 2 ounces) and roll into balls; place the balls on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until fully chilled; the pallotte should be firm to the touch. These can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance before frying.

4. Finish the pallotte. When you are ready to serve, in a large pot, heat the oil to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a rack or paper towels. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or bowl. Using your hands, roll the pallotte in the breadcrumbs to coat, then carefully lower 5 or 6 meatballs into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and hot, 4 to 5 minutes; you can check with a thermometer to ensure the balls have reached 160°F. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer the cooked pallotte to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pallotte. If they cool too much, feel free to warm them in a 250°F oven before serving. Serve with fresh tomato sauce, topped with grated pecorino, lemon zest, and fresh oregano leaves. You can place the tomato sauce in a casserole dish and place the crispy pallotte on top, or just serve the sauce on the side.

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The Cantini

The Cantini

“My husband, Jaime Canete, created this recipe for what I think is indeed the most perfect martini. I fondly named it after him as he kept this secret recipe close to his chest. His special recipe wasn't known amongst our friends until many began shaking martinis on their own but realizing that they weren’t as good as his. Now our friends ask for a  “Cantini” when coming over for a dinner party or get together.  We have always enjoyed a Vesper martini from James Bond, which has both gin and vodka, and he took inspiration from that famous formula. This makes 1 perfect ‘tini, but can easily be doubled or even tripled if needed!” - Chef Sarah Grueneberg


2 oz London Dry Gin

1 oz Vodka

Splash Dry Vermouth

Lemon peel Swath

Lots of Ice


Place your drinkware in the freezer or in your ice chest while you shake up your ‘tini. In a YETI Chug Cap Rambler or cocktail shaker, Fill with ¾ ice cubes, add gin, vodka and splash of dry vermouth, place the top on the canister and shake. Vigorously shake for 20-30 seconds. This is going to melt the ice and chill the spirits to a perfect balance. Remove the chilled drinkware, pour the martini into your chilled vessel, and garnish with a lemon peel swath. Get down!

CHEF’S NOTE: I love a “skating rink” of chipped ice on top of my martini, so don't feel the need to strain the mixture into the glass.

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Pallotte Verdi with Pesto Dip (Meatless Meatballs)


Five weeks of livestream cooking classes, with recipes, from five world famous Southern Smoke Chefs.

This livestream invites you into the kitchen with Chef Sarah Grueneberg, as she teaches viewers how to make Pallotte Verdi (Kale & Bread Meatless Meatballs) with Pesto Dip, all from her new book “Listen to Your Vegetables,” launching October 25, 2022. Southern Smoke Foundation founder Chef Chris Shepherd will join in as co-host.

*Presented by YETI. All clams tipped during the Fired Up series will be donated to Southern Smoke and all donations will be matched by YETI (up to $25,000)



The Southern Smoke Festival fundraiser invites America's most celebrated chefs and personalities to bring their bold flavors to Houston, TX Oct. 21-23 for an unforgettable three-day weekend of bites, local libations and live music all for a great cause - provide financial assistance and access to mental health care to anyone in crisis in the food and beverage industry nationwide. The Southern Smoke Foundation has distributed more than $10 million directly to people in need.

If you're interested in supporting Southern Smoke further, head to their website at the DONATE link below. Every time you buy a festival ticket, piece of merch, or bid on an auction item, the profits directly support the Emergency Relief Fund and general operations, which gets industry individuals financial help just as soon as they need it.



Chris Shepherd’s Herb-Marinated Pork Loin with Sweet Soy Baked Beans

Chris Bianco's Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Monday 10/3, 6:15PM - Sarah Grueneberg's Pallotte Verdi with Pesto Dip (Kale & Bread Meatless Meatballs)

Monday 10/17, 6:15PM - Tavel Bristol-Joseph's Jerk Ribeye Steak with Coleslaw

Monday 10/10, 6:15PM - Claudette Zepeda's Albondigas al Chipotle (Chipotle Meatballs) with a Paloma Cocktail with Orange and Ginger

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