Today’s dose of deliciousness brought to you by the humble basil leaf, a crush of garlic, some tasty toasty pine nuts and a glug or two of olive oil.
Fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, S&P. No measured recipe for this, friends. I have to say, I eyeball this every time I make it and if you taste along the way, you should have no problem zipping up your own flavourful batch.
The quantity you see here, about a cup, was made from about 5 handfuls of fresh, succulent basil leaves. After putting the leaves in my mini food processor, I added two medium cloves of pressed garlic. Next, about two tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, and a good third of a cup of olive oil. I whizzed this around until a fine paste appeared. After using what I needed for my dinner, I topped up the jar with another tablespoon or so of oil so as to cover the pesto and protect it from oxidizing. If the basil is exposed to air, it will turn a very dark green. It’s not ruined, but it won’t have a vibrant green colour. Add salt and pepper to taste, and you are good to go.
Some people add freshly grated parmesan into their pesto mix. I don’t. My mom preferred to add the fresh parm afterward, to top whatever dish we were eating, and I have followed suit ever since.
My best advice would be to add the oil in small increments as you are blending the leaves. And secondly, don’t over-garlic your pesto – it is a raw condiment and too much garlic will take away from the flavour of the basil.
Enjoy this versatile sauce. It’s not just for pasta. Jazz up your salad greens, or drizzle a bit over some roasted chicken. Absolutely delish!