The taste sensation of basil can be enjoyed year-round once you learn how to make basil pesto. Once made it can be placed in sterile jars and frozen in family-sized quantities to make a quick and easy meal over a plate of pasta, or savoured over grilled fish or chicken, over steamed vegies or dolloped over delicious homemade pizza for an incomparable flavour hit.
You will need:
3 packed cups of basil
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of pine nuts (or substitute with most other nuts, such as walnuts, unsalted pistachios or cashews).
100 ml extra virgin olive oil + some extra
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
To serve: add grated parmesan cheese
1. Wash jar/s and sterilise. Allow to cool.
2. Take the basil leaves off the stems and wash thoroughly. Shake off excess water.
3. Heat a small non-stick frying pan over low heat, add the pinenuts and brown gently.
They burn easily so stay with the cooking until they are golden. (If using walnuts, you can skip this step).
4. Add the pine nuts to the basil and garlic in the bowl of a large food processor.
5. Process until the ingredients are looking chopped up.
You may need to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl.
6. With the processor still running, add the olive oil in a stream and the salt and continue to process until the pesto is of the desired consistency.
7. Place the pesto in a small jar or container so that it fills almost to the top. Cover the top of the pesto with a small amount of olive oil.
8. Keep refrigerated for up to a fortnight; or freeze and use later. Pesto should keep for at least 6 months in the freezer.
9. (Optional) When serving, add some grated parmesan cheese.
Makes approx 200ml pesto, which is enough for a 500g pack of pasta.
Note that you can also subsitute excess coriander from the garden or parsley to make delicious herb pestos. These add a real flavour punch when stirred through minestrone soup or dolloped over steamed vegies.