So, perhaps I’m just behind everyone on this, but I have recently discovered the sheer beauty of making your own pesto. It’s power is not to be underestimated. This stuff was incredible. Maybe I’ve been lagging behind on this (and duh, freshly made was always going to be better than store bought…but this much better? Wow), but I’m now dedicating my time to spread the word. Because, yes. Delicious stuff.
I followed a tip of only very, very, very lightly toasting the pine nuts for use, to keep them creamy in the pesto rather than adding a nuttiness. Now, I love the sound of a nutty pesto, but I’m glad I stayed true to the tip because this was beautiful. Slightly cheesy, full of flavour and yes, that creaminess, despite the rather granular look of the pesto.
However, I should note; I love the taste of garlic, even the intensity of it raw. If this scares you a little, or you’re just plain not a fan, take it down to half a clove, or even skip it altogether if you must.
This can be made in a food processor, though I recommend a pestle and mortar, if only for a smaller cleaning job!
Should make enough to use for a pasta dish for four, but if you multiply the quantities, it will store well in a sterilised jar with some olive oil poured on the top, if kept in the fridge.
3 handfuls of fresh basil, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
1 handful of pine nuts, very finely toasted (keep more if needed to taste)
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
olive oil to taste
4 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, or more to taste
Salt and pepper
Pound the pine nuts and the basil together in a pestle and mortar. Add the garlic clove, and keep pounding. Add the parmesan, and a lug of oil — stir in just enough to get the mixture to start binding together. Season to taste, and add more cheese, oil or pine nuts according to what you think tastes good., both in flavour and texture. Then, you’re ready to go!
It’s great for pasta, for topping meats and fish, or even just spreading on some toast. And of course, this is a very simple and classical take on pesto — there’s ones using walnuts, kale, and more. Do you have a favourite?