“Herbs deserve to be used much more liberally”- Y. Ottolenghi
It’s kind of a long story, but I ended up with some fresh basil. A lot of fresh basil. I had picked it up for a recipe that I had not read through very carefully (surprise) and regretted to note that it called for a “garnish of fresh basil leaves”. Instead, I brought home a bushel, as in a few shrubs of fresh basil leaves. Fresh herbs don’t keep well and basil doesn’t like to be refrigerated (which is why I can never find it with all of the other green sprigs). Basil likes to reside in the tomato isle, next to the very vine-ripened tomatoes it compliments so well.
This long story ends well. That fresh basil, the basil that I over shot on, it was pulverised with some garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, parmesan and lemon. What resulted was the tastiest pesto that I have ever had. I totally winged the recipe but wouldn’t change a thing if (I mean when) I make it again. Best part is that it was so simple to make, my food processor did all of the work. It was a very happy mistake that provided a very tasty supper.
Pesto in general is the bomb and is one of the most versatile sauces to keep around your kitchen. Some ways to use it include…
- Tossing a little on some cooked pasta (with a cherry tomato or five)
- Mixing with a little heavy cream or even cream cheese for an even more decadent pasta topper
- Use on pizza instead of boring old pizza sauce
- Marinade chicken or fish prior to baking or barbecuing (with some lemon…nom nom nom)
- Mixed with mayo, pesto can take your sandwich or panini to new heights
- Pesto is even delicious in am omlette!
- I am sure this list can go on and on….
Recipe and pics below!
- ~3 cups of fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup or 2/3 cup (whatever you got) pine nuts that you have toasted. To toast them brown on medium heat in a dry frying pan tossing often until they are a light golden brown.
- 1/2 cup of finely grated fresh parm
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- ~1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil…or more to thin out sauce depending upon the consistency you are looking for.
In a food processor, combine garlic and pine nuts and blend until paste forms. Add lemon juice and add basil leaves through the top a few at a time. Continue to blend until combined. Add parm and slowly add oil until consistency preference is reached. Spoon into jar and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!