What do you do when you realise your windowsill has been taken over by Basil. You make PESTO! *big smiles*
An easy and beautifully flavoursome way of putting basil to good use. Its a very versatile herb and has great health benefits such as being an antioxidant as well as helping to fight cancer.
I have to say though, if you want to make a jar of it, you better plant a whole farm! I used 2 whole plants and managed to make a ramekin full! There are a few types of Basil, so it might be worth testing the strengths, and also, you can judge on your preference of taste. Some like it cheesy, others like it thick and spreadable. You decide.
I used Jamie Oliver’s Pesto recipe found on his website: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/pesto
(The recipe is also at the end of this Blog).
You will soon come to realise if you read choose to follow my Blog, is that I idolise Jamie Oliver. He is a major influence in my love of food.
Don’t forget to write down the quantities of everything you have used, so next time you can adapt and change the recipe to make it even better if you feel it can be improved. You end up with your own personal recipe, and not somebody elses.
I used my Pesto this time around mixed with wheatberries, chicken and veg. Delicious! But good combinations include stuffed chicken, hardy fish and the most popular, pasta.
- ½ clove garlic, chopped
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 good handfuls fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
- 1 handful pine nuts, very lightly toasted
- 1 good handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small squeeze lemon juice, optional
Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar, or pulse in a food processor. Add a bit more garlic if you like, but I usually stick to ½ a clove. Add the pine nuts to the mixture and pound again. Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.
Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it’s not essential. Try it with and without and see which you prefer.
Love and Basil xxx