Hello everyone, and I hope you're enjoying 2012 so far. Welcome to another installment of In the Kitchen with Bebb. I'll post my Wednesday movie review later today but for now I wanted to share one of my favourite recipes that is delicious and very simple. I've tweaked this over the years and have it just about perfect.
Bebb's Basil Pesto
Basil is probably my favourite herb and it's very easy to grow yourself- I highly recommend it as it tastes much, much better than the often wilted or blackened basil you get in supermarkets. It really is the definition of using fresh basil when you can pick a few leaves to go straight on a pizza, chop for a salad dressing, etc. All it needs to grow well in a pot from seeds is a sunny position, occasional feeding (I use organic Blood and Bone) and plenty of water. If you pick the leaves as needed, new ones are quickly put out and you'll never run out.
I've had an abundance of basil over the last few months and grew quite a few pots to give away as gifts. The Tupperware herb planter was courtesy of my mother-in-law for Christmas. My buddy MM came over yesterday afternoon and her eyes lit up when she saw it as she tends to, by her own admission, forget to water things. I promise I won't be mad if you kill your Christmas basil, MM!
Anyway, here are the ingredients you need:
-2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves (as basil tends to bruise very quickly once picked, it's best to leave it growing until you need it rather than pre-pick it. If you are buying your basil, store it with the stem ends in a glass of water and use as soon as possible.)
-2 cloves of garlic, or 2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic
-1/3 cup pine nuts (roasted if you prefer)
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
-3/4 cup olive oil
I do prefer to use fresh garlic and freshly grated parmesan cheese, but for impromptu or faster pesto it's fine to use garlic in a jar and pre-grated parmesan- it's something I always have in the fridge anyway.
In a food processor, process basil, garlic and pine nuts until finely chopped.
Add cheese and drizzle in half the olive oil. Whizz again until well combined.
Drizzle in the remaining oil and process once more until well combined.
That's it! Very simple and delicious. To serve, toss through hot, drained, freshly cooked spinach fettucine or spaghetti and top with a little extra parmesan. If you only need to use a little bit, eg in a salad dressing or on bruschetta or pizza, you can keep the rest in the fridge for up to a week- simply spoon into a jar and cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil. It can be frozen as well.
Oh and yes, my cat is named Pesto as well. I got him when I was living in a flat with my sister and we had a huge outside basil patch in our tiny courtyard and were making lots of pesto. On his first day home I took him, a kitten and still nameless, outside and he rolled in the basil. I picked him up, cuddled him and said, "Mmm, you smell like pesto." Name sorted.
Have fun making some yummy pesto and let me know how it works out!