To make basil pesto, you definitely need a lot of basil and there’s no substitute it. You can make pastes of many things but it will just pesto. The word pesto comes from pestle, and is called so because originally this sauce was made by crushing the ingredients using a pestle and mortar. Thus, pesto! Traditionally, this is made using Genovese basil and the recipe travels all the way from there. We plucked fresh basil from the garden, but a store-bought one works just as well.
We use a blender or food processor to do the grinding these days. So, its a very easy sauce to make. Begin with the basil in your grinder jar. Add garlic cloves.
Traditionally, basil pesto is always made with pine nuts, but I like to add a few more nuts or seeds to make it healthier. Here, I’ve added pumpkin seeds. This is a great way to add more seeds into your meals. You can add any other seeds if you like because they go with the texture of pesto and don’t alter the taste much. If you don’t have pine nuts, you can use walnuts as they have a similar taste and texture.
Add the olive oil. I’ve used extra virgin olive oil. This pesto can be used as a salad dressing or a spread for your toast. So whenever you may be eating anything raw/uncooked always use extra virgin olive oil. You can actually taste it through.
Add parmesan cheese and salt. You can use the grated parmesan we get in stores. If you get your hands on Parmigiano Regianno (original parmesan from Parma, Italy) then nothing like it!
Add freshly crushed black pepper.
Blend it to a consistency that resembles a paste crushed using a pestle and mortar. Don’t blend it smooth like a sauce or chutney. Let a little texture remain.
You can store this for a long time. If you’re going to use it soon then transfer it to a glass jar and refrigerate it. You can also freeze it. In that case I suggest using a stainless steel container with a lid. Make sure to pour some olive oil on top, that way it doesn’t get spoilt at all. It’s the same concept we use for pickling. This pesto can be used on toast, either just by itself or with a topping, on pizzas, in pastas, in a dip… and the list is endless! We’ll be uploading more recipes using this basil pesto soon.
Recipe: Basil Pesto
1 cup fresh basil leaves ½ cup Parmesan cheese ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 5-6 cloves Garlic 3 tbsp Pine nuts Parmesan cheese for garnishing Salt and Pepper to taste
Wash the basil and allow it to dry.
Put the basil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender and blend to a paste. Add in the olive oil to give it a creamy consistency and blend well.
Store it in an airtight container and refrigerate.