There’s a wonderful flavor combination going on in this Gorgonzola Cilantro Pesto. It is like no other pesto that I have ever tried and it is simply delicious! It has a freshness from the cilantro, toasty subtleties from the hazelnut and a sharp yet delicious saltiness from the gorgonzola. Served with some crusty bread and wine.
I invented this pesto many years ago at my restaurant Purple Rocks Art Bar and Cafe. It has been a favorite of mine ever since.
You can use it in pasta, soups, sandwiches, pizza, on toast, crostini, crackers and whatever else you can come up with.
Approx. 1 1/2 Cups
- 1 Cup Hazelnuts (Filberts)
- 1/2 Cup Gorgonzola
- 2 Cups Cilantro
- 1 Cloves Garlic
- 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt ( taste it before you add the salt, some gorgonzola is saltier than others)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 – 14 minutes. In about 5 – 7 minutes stir the nuts so they toast evenly while also checking on the progress.
When hazelnuts are cool put in the center of a towel and pull corners of the towel together and roll hazelnuts around with some force till skins come loose. A small amount of skin will remain on the nuts and that is fine.
Sometimes I separate the ones that the skins didn’t come off and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.
When cool grind them in a food processor until fairly fine.
Measure everything and put into food processor or blender except olive oil, puree while slowly adding the oil.
Hazelnuts are one of the only tree nuts with folate that may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression. They have a high concentration of oleic acid an omega-9 fatty acid that is known to prevent cancer, reduce blood pressure, prevent strokes and help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol that helps prevent heart attacks. They are also rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, the minerals help regulate blood pressure. Hazelnuts are one of the richest in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy skin, hair and nails. They are also packed with B vitamins that bring energy to your cells and increase the metabolism. They are one of the few nuts that contain vitamin A, which is great for your eyes and are also high in dietary fiber and minerals like manganese, selenium and zinc.
*People who are allergic to peanuts, macadamia nut and/or Brazil nut might also be allergic to hazelnuts.
Cilantro is an extreme anti-oxidant immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals. It helps promote a healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. Cilantro can lower bad cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol level. It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in essential oils, vitamins and is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K and dietary fiber. It is also an excellent source of omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids and calcium.