The NyonyaCelup apologises for her extended absence in the past month.
In between a holiday Down Under and various personal / work engagements, I found it a *lil* difficult to keep up with my blog.
As you can see, I had a bit of fun.
But I’m back! 🙂
And I remember that I promised all of you a pesto recipe!
Now, if there’s only ONE reason to grow your own basil,
it’s got to be for making the best pesto you’ve ever tasted.
If you’ve ever taken a spoonful of pesto and gone *meh*, the basil used probably wasn’t fresh — remember what I said about it tasting like spinach?
That, or you’ve tasted a store bought bottled version.
Or, someone’s pulled a fast one on you and replaced all the basil with rocket... *meh
And unless you’re an obligate carnivore, freshly ground pesto made from the leaves of freshly harvested basil is an olfactory & gustatory experience that’s quite difficult to top;
and making it is a culinary skill everyone should learn — only because it’s sooooo easy!
Simple Basil Pesto
*NOTE: I still make my pesto in a traditional mortar & pestle as opposed to blitzing it in a food processor.
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 handfuls sweet basil, freshly harvested & stalks discarded
- lemon basil, freshly harvested, to taste – I prefer a slight twang to my pesto & lemon basil gives me that flavour without overpowering the dish, as compared to say, a lemon?
- 1 cup Parmiggiano-Reggano / Parmesan, preferably freshly grated
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Peel & chop the garlic. *
- Chop the (sweet & lemon) basil leaves. * * Don’t need to get too anal about how fine they’re chopped. Everything gets pounded eventually.
- Toast your pine nuts. Which is basically placing them in a pan over a low heat till they’re brown & well, toasty!
- Now comes the fun part — pounding! – Start with the garlic; – followed by the basil leaves; – and then the pine nuts; – ending with 1/2 cup grated cheese. **
- Transfer the green glop to a big(ger) bowl & slowly stir in the olive oil. Add just enough to bind the pesto together & get a gooey consistency — you’re aiming for a slightly runny cake batter.**
- Stir in the rest of the cheese. If your pesto becomes too dry after this juncture, you can always add more oil again.
Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 20 – 30 mins, depending on your pounding skills ** Serves: 4
** All these steps can be done with a food processor, if using, which will then cut down your prep time to 15 mins. But I do recommend doing it manually.
You can proceed to toss your newly pounded green goo with some freshly cooked pasta; spread it over bread; give the tomatoes a break & substitute it on your pizzas; mix it in with your salads; possibilities are endless! 🙂
Just don’t forget to invite me for your next meal. 😉