Another recipe re-do but when I first posted this I also included several other recipes and quite honestly it was just too large of a post with too many recipes put together on one page. Therefore after a little editing, cutting and pasting I am happy that this page is now devoted entirely to my recipe for Fresh Basil Pesto, after all the King of all Pesto's deserves it's own page to shine! The rest of the post is kept as I originally wrote it two years ago as I didn't want to change things too much. The recipe for my Mint Pesto will be re-posted again soon and you can find the Spicy Red Pesto here.
After a recent trip to a local farm I arrived home laden with bags of freshly picked basil (sadly this year we didn’t get round to growing our own – amazing what happens when you have a baby!), peppers, tomatoes, chillies, rocket and mint – all the perfect ingredients for making up several batches of different pesto’s. All that was needed was a quick stop at the supermarket to grab some pine nuts, almonds and parmesan and we were good to go.
I know recipes for fresh pesto aren’t new and terribly exciting but I just find it impossible to let this time of year go by without including my recipe here. I can't resist fresh homemade pesto and Summer is the only time to make it when basil is in abundance and its sweet scent is delicately perfuming the air. Of course pesto doesn’t need to be made using just basil – there are endless combinations that you can put together to create your own unique tasting pesto but for the time being you can't mess with the best!
Depending on how much you make you can put your pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze it in cubes. Once it's frozen simply pop the frozen pesto cubes out of the tray and store in tightly sealed freezer bags. This way you always have Summer fresh basil within arms reach!
Classic Fresh Basil Pesto
The quantities for this pesto differ slightly from the Fresh from the Garden Pesto I did last year. That’s due to the fact last years pesto was made using basil I had grown in the garden and wasn’t quite as strong as the larger basil leaves I bought for this one. This pesto is also a little thinner but equally as delicious (and you don’t need as much basil).
60g loosely packed fresh basil leaves
50g pine nuts
1 clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon
125ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper (I like to use Maldon sea salt)
30g parmesan cheese, finely grated
In a dry frying pan, gently toast the pine nuts until just golden. Set aside and leave to cool. Put the basil and garlic in a food processor then add the cooled pine nuts along with the lemon juice, olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth then transfer into a small bowl or jar. Stir in the parmesan then taste to check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Your pesto is now ready to transform any dish you like but the first time I make it I can't resist simply tossing it through some hot pasta with some freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. Simple and delicious Summer food.
*If you find the taste of pesto to be too strong by itself with pasta then a generous splash of cream or some cream cheese mixed in makes for a delicious meal that everyone in your family is sure to love, and of course for a more substantial meal add you could add in some shredded left over chicken.