Basil pesto in the city

basil pesto north melbourne

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.

fresh basil pesto

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!