First I’m going to show you an easy recipe for making pesto and then I’ll give you some ideas on how to use it, instead of just having it with pasta all the time. Pesto is normally made with green basil, but purple basil looks good if you can get hold of some. Another way, uses arugula instead of basil – it’s fragrant and interesting with roasted meats.
Put the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a blender or pulse in a food processor. Add a bit more garlic if you like, but I usually stick to ½ a clove. Add the pine nuts to the mixture and pulse again. Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency. Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little zing, but it’s not essential.
• ½ a clove of garlic, chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
• a handful of pine nuts, very lightly toasted
• a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• extra virgin olive oil optional
• a small squeeze of lemon juice
Variations: Substitute other nuts for pine nuts. Sub arugula, spinach, or parsley for basil. Use this on pizza instead of tomato sauce, marinate chicken breasts in it and BBQ, top fish or roasted meats with it. Use your imagination!