Food & Drink Magazine

A Simple Basil Pesto

By Mariealicerayner @MarieRynr
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The Basil is going mad in my garden at the moment.   I can't use it up fast enough.  It's the perfect time to make Pesto!    We love pesto in this house and it's so much nicer when you can make your own.
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It's not really practical to make it during the winter months because it's so expensive to buy the fresh leaves and you really need a lot to make a really good pesto.   I will use the jarred kind in a pinch, but I much prefer the fresh if I can get it.
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Basil isn't something that winters at all in a garden, so you need to plant it every year.  We plant ours from seed in pots outside the kitchen door and it's really prolific and I like to make great use of it while I can!  It comes in ever so handy for all sorts, but making your own pesto is the greatest use of all!
A Simple Basil Pesto
Ready to use in a Summer Pea, New Potato and Pesto Tart!  Delicious!
A Simple Basil Pesto
Tomato Pesto Tartlettes, simple and quick to make.
A Simple Basil Pesto
You can spread it onto chicken breasts, top with some fresh mozzarella cheese and and roast them with some baby plum tomatoes.  Easy Peasy.  
A Simple Basil Pesto
A delicious Spinach, Pea and Gruyere Tart!
You can use it as a simple sauce on top of fish.  Just spread it onto the top, sprinkle on some buttered bread crumbs and roast.  Also easy.
It's such a versatile ingredient.   We like it on sandwiches and all sorts.  It's lovely stirred into hot pasta!
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It's super easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  Don't fret if you don't though . . . it is possible to do it in a mortar and pestle, although it is a lot harder work!  You need a lot of ooomph!
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Just remember air is your enemy when it comes to pesto and make sure you keep a thin layer of olive oil over the top of it, or keep it tightly covered with plastic wrap.  It also freezes very well.  I do hope you'll try it.  It's just so simple to make, and once you have made your own . . . you'll never be satisfied with it from a jar again. 
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*A Simple Basil Pesto*Makes about 2 cupsPrintable Recipe
What can I say.  It's pesto and it's easy to make.  Perfect way to use up some of that Basil which is probably going wild in your garden at the moment!
a small handful of toasted walnuts
a small handful of toasted pine nuts4 peeled and chopped cloves of garlic3 cups of basil leaves, lightly packed1/2 tsp fine sea salt1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper6 fluid ounces good quality olive oil (3/4 cup)90g of finely grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
Put the nuts and garlic into the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse several times.  Add the basil leaves along with the salt and pepper.  With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, allowing the motor to run until the mixture is thoroughly pureed.  Stir in the cheese.   Let the motor run on low for about half a minute.   Your pesto is now ready to use.  Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  For longer storage freeze.  You can freeze this in ice cube trays.  Just divide amongst the little cups, add a thin layer of olive oil on top and freeze. Pop out into a zip lock baggie and return to the freezer.  You can take out as many as you want to use then, whenever you need them.

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