Pesto is an incredibly versatile thing to have in your kitchen. It is perfect for the busy household when you need a quick meal, and in my experience, kids love it as much as adults do.
And if you’re keen to make Pesto from scratch and love the idea of gardening, basil is possibly one of the most forgiving plants I know, particularly in warmer climates and a great place to start turning yourself into a green thumb.
With an overabundance of fresh basil in my garden at the moment it was a logical step to preserve it for later use, and this is the best way that I know how. Even with us giving our bushes a good haircut, when it was all said and done 200g of leaves made 2 jars of pesto so its a great way to convert a large amount of fresh herbs into an intense flavor hit for your pasta, salad dressings or pizzas.
When using the pesto to make pasta sauce I combine it with a touch of olive oil or cream to extend it and often serve up with some steamed green vegetables and the pasta. Pesto is also fabulous stirred through boiled potatoes when you want something a little bit different, smeared on your cheese and ham toastie, or even just adding an extra flavor to your homemade salad dressing.
This recipe was posted previously on the blog right back when I started but I thought it was worth re-sharing as its almost more useful for me now with a toddler.
- 200g fresh basil leaves, washed and removed from the stalks
- 100g toasted pine nuts
- 8 fresh cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 100g grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- approx 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and black pepper to taste
Wash your basil leaves and dry them. I use my salad spinner and then lay them out on a tea towel to finish off the job.
In a food processor pulse your pine nuts and garlic until a crumb like texture. Add the basil leaves and blitz until finely chopped. Turn to a low speed and slowly pour in the olive oil until the mix is a whipped cream like consistency
Spoon the mixture into a bowl and then stir through the Parmesan cheese. Season with the lemon juice and salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
Spoon the mixture into sterilised jars and cover with olive oil to store in the fridge. Alternatively this mixture will freeze well in an airtight container.
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