12 January 2015

Thank Goodness For Pesto





It's a lazy supper tonight.  Lazy but one of our favourites.  Pesto with pasta.  My children won't eat the ready-made stuff you can buy in a jar but they LOVE my homemade pesto.  To be honest, I don't think you can really compare the two - fresh pesto is a hundred times nicer and nutritionally far superior*.  It's shamefully easy and, as I was about to make it this afternoon (and it was still daylight), I thought I'd share it with you.

Ingredients

Two handfuls of basil (stalks too).
A handful of baby spinach leaves.
A matchbox-sized square of Parmesan cheese.
A small handful of pine nuts.
Two peeled garlic cloves.
Extra virgin olive oil (possibly a cup full - add gradually until pesto is the right consistency).
A generous pinch of salt (to taste).

Instructions

Whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor.

That's it!  :-)

Wrapped carefully, it will sit quite happily in your fridge for up to a week.

Each person only really needs a heaped dessert spoonful to stir through a bowl of steaming pasta - it's beautifully fragrant and a little goes a long way.

I don't just use my pesto in pasta - it's fabulous with chicken, baked potatoes, bruschettas and a small dollop in tomato soup is delicious.

*I think I've mentioned basil's powerful anti-depressant properties before - a must, in my book, for this time of year.

You can, of course, vary the ingredients for a slightly different flavour; I've used watercress and rocket instead of basil and spinach and have even added a few frozen peas for a sweeter taste.  I've also replaced the pine nuts with walnuts.  All combinations are equally as yumptious!

xxx

23 comments:

  1. I think I need to learn how to make vegan pesto.....I can smell it from here, lovely! :) xxx

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    1. I've been making my own pesto for years - I find Basil very easy to grow and I get azalea sizes bushes of it so it works - it also freezes well. However, I don't put parmesan in the pesto. I've found that re-heating the pesto when it includes cheese makes it gummy and causes it to separate. In the past several years I also eliminated the parm because most of my family is vegan. It actually stores, lasts, etc... much longer when it's made without the cheese. I find that pesto sauce works best when I add room temperature sauce to steaming hot pasta right out of the boiling pot rather than heating the sauce itself. I used to put pine nuts directly in the sauce but now I serve the sauce atop the steaming pasta and then serve toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese on the side - that way each person can add those ingredients as needed. My vegan family members tend to just not add the cheese at all but there is vegan parmesan that can be added and nutritional yeast would work well too. Also - my brother in law has made all of THESE pestos: avocado, spinach, arugula. Basically variations on the same recipe above. They all work very well. Making vegan pesto should be no trouble at all! Good luck, Sher

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  2. Ooh yum! I'm pinning this for future reference!
    Maria x

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    1. I've googled some vegan pesto recipes and they nearly all seem to substitute the cheese for nutritional yeast. To be perfectly honest, I'm sure if you simply omitted the Parmesan, it would taste just as yummy. x

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  4. The smell makes me feel better immediately x x x

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  5. My children love pasta with pesto, but I haven't made homemade for years. Must try!

    Btw, where did you get your little jar for the pine nuts? I love it!

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    1. The cutesy little jar is from Jamie Oliver's home range here … http://www.jamieathome.com. x

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  6. I come to visit your blog...I live in Liguria the land of pesto...congratulation you made it very good with the true ingredients!!!I also love crochet and your works!!!kisses

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  7. Sounds delicious, I've written down the recipe. CJ xx

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  8. Oh I love pesto, I can't imagine how good homemade stuff is, if jar pesto is good!

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  9. Just bought a basil plant today so guess what I will be making!

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  10. I love making pesto as I blitz it in a biggish spice mill or have even done it with my handblender. Originally I bought a pestle and mortar as Antonio Carluccio said it was imperative to the flavour (!) and what a stringy mess I got, far better to blitz it in seconds. I agree with your kids -why eat jarred stuff with peanuts, dodgy oil and vinegar to ruin the flavour.

    I don't add salt but that's probably because I get the saltiness from using half parmesan and half pecorino romano. I have had a deli version made with wild garlic and should try it making it with watercress etc but the original is just so tasty!

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    1. Ohhhh, I'm actually dribbling at the thought of pesto made with wild garlic! A couple of people on Instagram recommended using kale which I can't believe I've never thought of. They do say you should crush or bruise basil, rather than cut it, to best release its natural oils so I can see the logic of using a pestle and mortar. I'm pretty sure giving the leaves a good old scrunch with your hands before blitzing them would do just as well!!! x

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  11. I love pesto and totally agree that fresh is always best! I do use jarred stuff in things where I want something basily but it will then be cooked as you can't tell the difference then and saves the lovely fresh stuff for where you really can tell. Pasta and Pesto - what a great combination hey! xx

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  12. Yum yum, love pesto... So fragrant! By the way, I signed the petition regarding the tax issue after I read the new rules in Sandra's blog. I think it is outrageous. Why is it always the little people who have to pay the consequences of the big and rich corporations' mistakes or manoeuvres to evade tax? It's not fair. I am glad you are determined to go on in spite of it. Have a lovely day, Heather! Pati xx

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    1. Oh poop, I should have mentioned the petition! Thank you for signing it, Pati. You are, of course, completely right - there is no logic whatsoever to the new legislation. I may be being very naive but I'm convinced it won't last long. xx

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  13. Mm mm yummy I can smell the basil from here!

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  14. I must admit that pesto is a closed book to me. Sounds pretty good though I doubt I'd sneak it in past my cheese hating husband, he can smell it out everywhere! ;)

    S x

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  15. I totally agree, I love pesto and I love making my own. Have you ever tried making the wild garlic/ransomes version ... it's divine.

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  16. Can't beat home made,so easy too.Love your blog.x

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  17. Years ago I tried some pesto from a jar, and it was pretty bad, so I just figured pesto wasn't my thing. However, after reading this post, even though it's still winter here, I decided I had to find enough basil to try making my own. I found it in just the right amount (and it didn't break the bank) and made it and all I can say is WOW. Talk about addictive! I followed your recipe mostly, although I only had shaved parmesan and crushed garlic in a jar, next time I'll make sure I have good garlic cloves and a chunk of parmesan - no matter, it was still wonderful. My son and I have eaten nearly all of it in the last few days. A little pasta here, a little pasta there, a bit on a frittata I made, mixed in with some marinated cucumbers, yum yum and yum. Now I'm looking even more forward to late spring so I can plant some basil and have this on hand. Thanks so much for sharing.

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