I’ve never really understood pesto. At its worst it’s dull, gloopy and a cop-out; at its best, I’d still prefer some freshly chopped herbs without the extras. I even once went out with a Genovese guy (Genoa, Italy, being the apparent birth place of pesto), who made what he thought was an amazing pesto dish with gnocchetti, green beans and potatoes. (I appreciated the thought.) But pesto seems to be having a little moment, and I have to admit, I’m enjoying the various iterations: At buzzing new West Village spot Dell'anima, chef Gabriel Thompson makes a knockout pesto with parsley, and a few blocks further south at Centro Vinoteca, Anne Burrell uses pistachios in place of pignoli.

Now, I'm inspired to make the following versions: