It was unseasonably warm and sunny in my part of the UK yesterday, so this called for some summer-style cooking. There’s no denying that pesto sauce in a jar is very handy and perfectly good, but for something a little more special, the fresh home-made variety is far superior. And it’s so quick, you can make it in the time it takes to cook some pasta – then just stir it into the hot pasta and voila!
This quantity makes about what you need for two people. You can make more and store it in a jar in the fridge, topped with some extra olive oil, for up to two weeks, but I prefer to just make what I can use at the time.
WHAT YOU NEED:
– 25g pine nuts
– 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
– 25g finely grated parmesan (buy it in block and grate it yourself, I insist on that!)
– 75ml extra virgin olive oil (you need good quality olive oil for this, there’s proportionally a lot of it in pesto sauce so a cheaper oil could lend an unpleasant taste to the sauce)
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– salt and freshly ground black pepper
WHAT YOU DO:
1. Place the pine nuts in a dry frying pan and toast gently over a low heat, shaking the pan regularly. You want to them to just turn a little golden, not get too toasted, so keep an eye, they only take a couple of minutes.
2. Place pine nuts in a food processor along with the other ingredients, apart from the salt and pepper, and whizz until desired consistency is reached, it’s good to keep a bit of texture in there. Alternatively, you can make it in a pestle and mortar by smooshing the pine nuts and garlic together and then stirring that well into the other ingredients.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Easy! And the fresh fragrance of the basil leaves and garlic is wonderful…