I just love fresh Basil…
Oh that fragrance – it just makes you pause and breath it in more deeply.
Summer. It reminds me of Summer. The warmth. The golden sunshine, longer days, open windows and doors….and the sweet smell of basil growing in the sunshine.
Fresh, green, vibrant. Soft, smooth leaves.
Bunches of it on my kitchen bench to be turned into pesto…..now that is a taste sensation…home made pesto. It is so easy. So bursting full of flavour.
Toss it through your fresh salad (along with a few fresh basil leaves). Spread some on your potatoes at dinner time. Use it in bolognaise. Have it on fresh sough dough bread, toasted, with butter, sliced tomato and sea salt. I can feel my mouth watering. You can use it on pasta too. It adds a boost of flavour to so many things.
Once you have enjoyed homemade pesto you will realise that the store bought stuff just isn’t the same. I have tried to find some that has that beautiful, intense, rich, full flavour and always find it is flat and bland by comparison.
Homemade pesto is so delicious that the kids like to eat it fresh, on a spoon, when I make it up. And you just have to go back for one more little spoonful of that ‘fill your mouth with flavour’ experience. Sharp and strong at the start but leaving a rounded creamy note behind.
Make up surplus and freeze in little paddy cake tins or ice cube trays and then place into zip lock bags in the freezer for easy future use.
Prep: 10mins Makes 2 cups approx
1 1/2 – 2/ 1/2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
60g Parmesan cheese – grated.
Place basil, pine nuts and garlic in food processor. Process (scraping down sides occasionally) until almost smooth.
With the motor running add oil in a slow stream. Process until oil is combined.
Transfer pesto into bowl and add the parmesan. Stir until well combined. Now it comes alive. Add more parmesan if you prefer.
Season with salt and pepper if desired. Stir.
The pine nuts have a nicer flavour if roasted lightly in the oven first.
If you are freezing it for later don’t add the parmesan until ready to use.
1/2 cup of lemon juice adds a nice zest and lift to pesto.
You can use bunya pine nuts or even almond meal as a substitute.
You can tweak any of the ingredients to make them more or less intense to your liking. When you get it right, you’ll know…..'”Mmmmm. That’s good.”