Sunday, 17 March 2013

Home-grown Basil Pesto

Before I left Melbourne I stocked up on recipes to share with you so that I wouldn't feel guilty about not cooking while I was job hunting. This is one of my favourite things to make and it only happens every so often. Occasionally, the basil my mum loves to grow becomes fairly overgrown and starts to flower. It's normally at this stage that she recommends a pesto making session. I've used a few different recipes over the years and some are better for cooking with while others are better for dipping. This one is half-way between but if you're not a huge pesto fan, I'd recommend putting this version in other dishes rather than using it as a dip. And just as a heads up, you'll also need a food processor for this recipe.

Makes about 1 cup
2 cups of fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup pine nuts
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup good quality olive oil (yes, quality does matter, the flavour becomes very obvious in this recipe)
1/2 cup grated (freshly) parmesan cheese
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Extra good quality olive oil (only if you're storing in the fridge)

Pop the fresh basil and pine nuts in the food processor and pulse a few times. Add in the garlic and pulse a few times more. The consistency is really up to you but still being able to recognise the ingredients, but almost unable to, is probably where you want it. 

Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the food processor while its going until its all in. If you need to, scrape the sides of the food processor down to ensure everything is mixed together. 

Then add in the grated parmesan cheese and pulse until thoroughly blended. Add in the salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve or cook with straight away if you desire or if you plan on storing it follow these instructions. Get an air-tight or preserving jar (that will take slightly more mixture than you have) and spoon the pesto in. Then, pour over the same good quality olive-oil until the pesto is entirely covered. Seal the jar and refrigerate. This ensures that the pesto doesn't dry out and maintains its delicious flavour. It will keep for about a month before you best dispose of it have you any remaining. 

And there you have it, deliciously easy home-made (and in my case, home-grown) pesto. 

Erin xx

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