Let’s just get one thing out of the way now. Fresh basil pesto will always be superior to the variety you buy in jars at the supermarket both in taste and in nutrients. The ingenious combination of six simple ingredients comes together to make a vibrant flavour that jarred pestos can only dream of having. And need I mention the intoxicating smell in your kitchen? Traditionally, pesto was made using a pestle and mortar but using a food processor works very well too. Making pesto at home is probably one of the easiest ways to get your kids to help out in the kitchen and contribute to a meal.
Basil Pesto is delicious tossed with freshly boiled pasta, spread in a sandwich, used as a dip for vegetables, or mixed into a salad dressing to add some vibrancy to it.
(makes approximately 1 cup)
100g fresh basil leaves (I usually get this from two standard sized basil plants in the supermarket)
1 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped (you can use 2 garlic cloves if your garlic is not very strong)
50g pine kernels
50g parmesan cheese, freshly grated (do not just throw a block of parmesan into your food processor as it is too hard for the blade to process well)
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (start with 4 Tbsp and then add more as necessary)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt (or according to taste)
- You will need a food processor to make this recipe. If you have the option, I recommend using a smaller bowl (I use the 1.2L mini bowl in my Magimix food processor).
- Pluck the basil leaves from the stalks (this is where little fingers come in handy!). Rinse the basil leaves and dry them on a tea towel.
- Grate your parmesan cheese and roughly chop your peeled garlic clove.
- In your food processor, add the chopped garlic and pine kernels. Pulse a few times to break them up.
- Add the basil leaves and pulse a few times.
- Add the parmesan cheese, olive oil and sea salt. Run the food processor for 10 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. This is when you might want to add a bit more olive oil to make the consistency smoother.
- Process until the pesto comes together evenly.
- Taste once more and add more salt if necessary.
- Serve straightaway or refrigerate for upto 5 days.