Basil Pesto

May 8, 2017
Family Verdict:


20g pine nuts

50g basil leaves stripped from thick stems

1 small garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped

a good pinch of sea salt

5 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese

125ml good (but mild) olive oil

Dry roast the pine nuts in a small frying pan over a medium heat until they take on some colour

Put the basil, garlic, pine nuts and salt in a small food processor with some of the oil

Process to a paste. Add more oil if the mix is to dry

Add the grated cheese and the rest of the oil and pulse to mix and slightly chop the cheese. You want to leave some texture.


I notice I have given a recipe for pasta and pesto before,but here is one for just pesto. This is (obviously) Basil Pesto, but at this time of year you can make pesto from any number of green leaves - and being late spring, there are lots of green leaves which are vibrant and full of chlorophyll right now and so can be made into a pesto (=paste) which can be used to coat pasta, stir into soup, serve as a flavour accelerator for any number of dishes. Add it to chicken breast to make it more interesting, on new potatoes or green beans. For non-basil you can also vary the nuts you use (think walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds) depending on your preferences and what greenery you use. I have use rocket, watercress, basil, spinach. I imagine sorrell could be quite interesting. You could also vary between olive and rape seed oil depending on the other ingredients. But again, because of the limited number of ingredients they need to be good quality.

I used a small food processor to make this - traditionally a large mortar and pestle should be used so as not to overly cut the basil. But life is too short. Making this from scratch is almost as quick as opening a jar - and the flavour is beyond comparison to the kind you get in the supermarket.

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