The title was my husband’s idea so blame him for tackiness. It’s kinda cute that he has become more involved with the website. I like the joint-venture and so does he.
Pesto in the supermarket just doesn’t do it for me. Back in Australia, one could pay a little more to get fresh pesto to go with fresh pasta but not here. England’s supermarket pesto is oily, contains god-knows-what to keep it preserved and lacks the nuttiness that real pesto has. You might guess where this is going – that’s right, make your own pesto!
A friend of mine game me Anthony Carluccio’s Simple Cooking for my 30th birthday. This book has been a good friend for authentic yet simple and reliable Italian recipes. This pesto recipe comes from Anthony’s book. It is simple, easy and perfect for the lazy condiment makers such as myself. Hope you try it and like it.
Warning : This recipe isn’t vegetarian as there is calf rennet in the grana padano cheese used. You can try and substitute it with a vegetarian cheese such as vegetarian mature cheddar.
30 gms (1 Sainsbury’s bag is 28 gms and will be enough) of fresh basil leaves without stalks
30 gms of pinenuts
50ml of extra virgin olive oil
60 gms of grana padano cheese or parmesan, grated. I cut it into small bits as I’m lazy and it still works.
1 small clove of garlic
salt to suit your taste
1. Throw all the above ingredients except the olive oil, into a food processor. Use the “chop” setting first so that all ingredients are coarsely chopped to the same size.
2. Add the olive oil to the pesto and then use the “grind” option in your food processor to make a coarse paste. I would define it more as an emulsion, by which I mean that the oil does separate into a layer above the rest of the pesto so you will need to mix it each time you use it.
What does one do with pesto ?
1. Use it as a dip with some crusty bread, crackers, cheese sticks
2. Use it as a base for a sandwich or a burger (roast veggies and pesto work like a charm)
3. Use it as a topping for portabello mushrooms and then grill the mushrooms for a tasty side dish
4. Use it as a simple pasta sauce by mixing it with cooked sphaghetti, some sundried tomatoes and black olives.
5. Today, I used the fresh pesto I made as a topping for some slightly stale bread, topped it with goat’s cheese and grilled the bread for 2 mins. 2mins was too long at grill setting 5 in my oven and I’d use setting 4 next time or grill it for less than 2 minutes. I then served this pesto toastie with my home-made caponata or sweet and sour eggplant. It was delicious!