Basil Pesto

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This is my go-to recipe for pesto. I will usually make it with the traditional ingredients of pine nuts and parmesan, but have also used pecorino and cashews. This recipe is easily adaptable for smaller or larger quantities depending on what you have on hand.

I like to freeze my pesto to enjoy later when summer is a distant memory!

This is based on the pesto recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks – ‘Grow It Cook It by Sally Cameron – and makes 3-4 jars.

Ingredients

125g basil leaves
15 cloves of garlic, peeled (around 75-80gms)
100g pine nuts (or cashews, walnuts or macadamias)
300g parmesan cheese grated (I grate this using the food processor first and set it aside before starting the recipe)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
300-400ml extra virgin olive oil (I like my pesto as a think paste, if you like it thinner, add more oil)

Method

1. Wash and drain the basil leaves – I use a salad spinner.
2. Blitz the basil and garlic into the food processor.
3. Toast the pine nuts (dry or with a little olive oil) in a frypan just until they start to colour.
4. Place the pine nuts and the cheese into the food processor and blitz for another minute.
5. Add salt and pepper. Then while the processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil until a paste forms.
6. Spoon mixture into clean jars (sterlilise them if you are planning to freeze the pesto or keep for longer periods) and then top the pesto with a layer of olive oil to ‘seal’ it and stop it from oxidising (going brown!).

Keep in the fridge (remembering to always cover with oil after each use) for up to 4 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

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