Simple Basil Pesto
When it comes to my eating style I have to say I am the consummate grazer. I love a good snack platter. A handful of crackers, some cheese, olives, cherry tomatoes and pesto, and I'm happy. Plus, on week nights I'm usually running around really short on time, trying to up the seasoning to the dinner I'm throwing together. This simple basil recipe lends itself well to my tastes and rhythms. It sits easily as a fresh tasty dip on a platter, and is definitely my number one punchy flavour boost added to a lot of meals I prepare.
2 Cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons lightly roasted pine nuts
1 Teaspoon fresh ground garlic
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
½ a Cup olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and pour over the olive oil.
Use a strong blending stick to chop and blend well. (A food processor will work equally as well).
Taste to see if more salt and pepper is needed.
Pour pesto into small jars.
Pour some additional olive oil over the pesto until it covers the pesto by 5mm and screw on lids.
Store in fridge for up to 3 months.
If you like to mix it up a bit or can't find pine nuts, you can substitute them with something different like sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds.
Sometimes I pour the pesto into ice cube trays and freeze in smaller portions to use in cooking. Once frozen I store these in a free flow bag in the freezer for up to six months.
Pesto can be used in so many wonderful ways. Here's a few of my fav's:
Tossed through freshly cooked pasta with salmon or cooked bacon and chopped tomatoes for a quick dinner on the go
Drizzled over zucchini or eggplant and grilled in the oven or on the BBQ for a chargrilled vege delight
mixed with breadcrumbs and parmesan and crust layered on top of mushrooms or fish and baked
Spread on a pizza base as a perfect pizza sauce
Added to chicken soup as an aromatic herby flavour boost
The options are endless for pesto!