Let’s be clear; I have not bought a jar of pesto for over a year now because it just does not compare with the home made stuff.
True it takes a good 20 minutes to prepare but I tell myself that at least my arms get a good work out, and it is actually therapeutic taking my mind off anything else and just following the regular movement of the mezzaluna. (Mezzaluna is a knife with a curved blade and a handle on each end; great for cutting up herbs)
Mix a third of the pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and basil leaves and start cutting it up very finely with the mezzaluna. It takes a good seven minutes for the herbs, the nuts and the cheese to mix.
Add another third of each ingredients on top, and repeat for a good seven minutes again, and then the last part. The longer you go on, the more you will see the mix becoming paste-like. Personally I like it with chunks.
Pour some olive oil and sprinkle some salt over the mixture, et voilà, you have the most delicious and tasteful pesto you will ever have. And trust me, you will never go back to a pesto in jar after this! Eat it with pasta or even better zucchini pasta (see recipe in previous blog post).
Now I just need to find a way not to eat it up in 2 minutes and make it last longer than the 20 minutes I needed to prepare it.
Oh and please don’t take any short cuts by just dumping everything into a blender… you will just rip the basil leaves, losing all flavour and it will become a runny paste. It is so much more rewarding to spend the time preparing it by hand.
BASIL PESTO RECIPE (serves 2)
- 100g basil leaves
- 50g pine nuts
- 50g parmesan cheese, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, cut into thirds
- good quality olive oil
- Pinch salt
- Divide basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and garlic into thirds. Use a mezzaluna to finely chop one third of the mixture for 7 minutes, adding in the next third and cutting for another 7 minutes then the final third and cut until the mixture becomes paste-like.
- Drizzle some good quality olive oil and a pinch of salt over the pesto mixture and mix well.