I can’t believe I’ve been in Sardinia for almost two months (with a garden full of basil at my fingertips) and I’ve only made pesto once! Ironically, when I’m home in Canada I make pesto often-and often complain about how expensive store-bought basil is and how “I wish we were back at the country house and I had a garden full of fresh basil!”
Oh well, at least I made it once this summer…and for the record it was delicious! I usually make a large batch and store it in ice cube trays in the freezer so I always have some on hand. I add it to tomato sauce, grilled veggies, as a spread on sandwiches, in quinoa and rice dishes, and even in frittatas!
(Makes about 1/2 cup)
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil (this one’s a must for optimal flavour!)
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan (optional)
pinch of salt
garlic (quantity as desired)
This recipes calls for a small food processor. However, if you do not have one you can simply combine the ingredients in a mortar and pestle (IF you have one of those!).
In a medium pan, toast pine nuts on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until slightly browned. *Stir them constantly to avoid burning…and trust me (from experience), it can happen in a split second!
Cut stems off basil then add to a small food processor. Add pine nuts and grind for about 1 minute or until combined and the leaves and pine nuts are finely ground.
Slowly drizzle olive oil (into lid of food processor) while continuing to blend or add 1 tbsp. at a time (blending each time) until you get the desired consistency.
* I always make mine slightly on the thicker side because I always add some pasta cooking water (which thins out the pesto) when preparing pasta.
Once you have the desired consistency, add grated Parmesan cheese and blend one more time. Add salt to taste (I always add the salt last as the Parmesan usually adds enough of a salty bite!)
You can also add black pepper and/or hot pepper flakes for added flavour, if desired.
*TIP: Parmesan tends to get slightly bitter when frozen so only add the Parmesan if consuming immediately. (You can store the rest in baby cubes in the freezer.)
Not a fan of basil or pine nuts? Why not try your own variation using spinach, kale or rucola or substitute the pine nuts with your favourite nut!
What is your favourite pesto flavour?