Have you ever eaten fresh basil pesto? It is divine, sublime, you pick the noun! Living in an inner city suburb with a courtyard does not mean that you cannot have your very own fresh produce. I have grown basil in our ‘back yard’ every summer since we have been here. In fact our courtyard can pass for a wee jungle. I manage mint, parsley, lemon thyme and rosemary all year round, plus tomatoes, lettuces, and basil every summer. Not to mention that we have a lemon/lime tree. It is amazing how just a few fresh ingredients can really make a difference to meals. For example try adding a small amount of fresh chopped lemon thyme when making spaghetti bolognaise – it’s a winner!
But back to the basil pesto. It is incredibly easy to make, and the quantity of basil pesto I can make over the summer from a single punnet of basil plants more than recoups the cost of all the ingredients. Look at that forest of basil my daughter is peering at through the window – that’s the single punnet all grown up! And did you know you can freeze basil pesto. Better than the bought stuff. You do not need to be a gardener or a cook to make this a success.
The recipe I use is actually courtesy of a NZ Women’s Weekly issue dating back to the end of 2006! They actually still have a link to the recipe, though I have included said recipe:
- 2 cups of basil leaves, tightly packed
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Place basil and cloves in the food processor and pulse to chop. Then add Parmesan and pine nuts and blend to a pulp. With the motor running drizzle in the olive oil, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then continue processing to form a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then cover with a little oil. Makes approximately 1 cup. Keep in fridge for 2 – 3 weeks. Yummo!