Author Jean Morrison
I wish I had discovered Basil Pesto years ago. I must be a late developer. Basil Pesto is such a warming food. You feel you are warming your soul when you eat it. I lash out and use pine nuts when I make pesto but I have successfully used pre-roasted (but not salted) cashew nuts and sunflower seeds too instead. The two substitutes are certainly much cheaper than pine nuts. Apart from traditional uses I spread this pesto on toast for breakfast and I include it in my sandwiches. The other members of the family don't go berserk with it like I do but then they are not addicted to it like I am
Cooking time: 10 minutes to roast the pine nuts
Quantity: About 350 mls
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100gms of fresh basil leaves, thick stems removed
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup olive oil, approximately
Pepper, to taste
Extra oil if needed
Carefully toast the pine nuts till golden but not brown. Or, otherwise put them in a dry fry pan and toss them around for a couple of minutes over low heat until golden. You must watch them carefully at this stage because they burn so easily. Let them cool.
Place basil leaves, garlic, toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese into a blender. Blend until a smooth thick paste forms. Whilst the blender is still running, slowly trickle the oil into the mixture until the desired consistency is achieved,
Add pepper to season.
Pour into small jars.
Pine nuts are expensive but you will only be using about 75 grams.
This pesto is excellent served with bacon in a pasta meal. It is great as a dip with savoury crackers.
Don't try to save time by placing the oil in the blender at the start. I've tried it and it didn't blend up at all well.
Pesto freezes well so make it in summer and stash some away in the freezer for winter when fresh basil is not so readily available.
Basil Pesto does discolour after air comes in contact with it. This does not affect the flavour. If you want to avoid this discolouration you can pour a smidge of oil over the surface of the pesto.
Garlic is a "wonder" food. It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties. It has been found to lower blood cholesterol, to boost the immune system, to lift one's mood and to create a calming effect. It is thought to have originated in central Asia. Garlic can exaggerate the effects of drugs used to combat high blood pressure so be careful. If your breath smells strongly of garlic try chewing on parsley.
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