From Mud To Mouth – Hey Pesto!

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There are two types of Pesto there is the stuff you buy in jars form the supermarket which has saved my bacon by providing Max with many a last minute meal and there is the homemade kind; they are two different things. The jar that is lurking somewhere in the nether regions of my fridge lists over 15 ingredients whilst the jar I just made essentially has three; basil, cheese and pine nuts. It’s reassuring to see how much basil goes into one jar, that much green has got to be good.


How to Grow Basil

I’m a firm believer that food tastes better when you were the one that put it in the ground and took care of it and this morning I reaped a little of what I sowed. You can grow from seed or seedling. If growing from seed start them off inside by a windowsill or a greenhouse. Basil likes its weather hot and dry. In Melbourne the rough guide is to plant seedlings around Melbourne Cup Day, once the hangover has cleared. Pinch off the tips of the plant to encourage a thick bushy growth. Water whenever the soil is dry.


How to Make Pesto

Makes: 1 jar

2 tbsp pine nuts
Pinch of salt
250g fresh basil leaves
25g Parmesan, grated
25g Pecorino, grated
300ml extra virgin olive oil


1. Toast the pine nuts in a pan and then allow to cool. Lightly crush in a pestle and mortar, along with a pinch of salt.

2. Gradually add the basil leaves and pound them into a paste.

3. Combine the cheese and gradually add the oil.

4. Spoon the pesto into a jar, and cover with oil. Refrigerate until use.

I made 1 jar using the pestle and mortar method and one with the food processor. Obviously the pestle and mortar takes longer and is a bit more labour intensive but you get a coarser more satisfying flavour. Either way they are both delicious.


Serving Suggestion

Boil pasta in salted water, drain and mix through your pesto. Sprinkle some more Parmesan on top and serve with a chilled glass of white wine. When it tastes this good you don’t need to mess with it.


The basil went from mud to mouth in about an hour. Have you ever made pesto? Have you ever grown basil?

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    Looks delicious. Nothing like fresh ingredients straight from the garden to make a meal healthy and tasty :-)

    • daddownunder

      For sure Boy Eats World, something primal about growing your own food that’s hard to beat

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    I love pesto, and you probably won’t be surprised to learn I’ve ever made it, but I agree it does seem simple and I do have a pestle and mortar….

    • daddownunder

      I am surprised Em, I had you down as a total pesto maker. Go on give it a go, you can picture someone’s face you don’t like as you mush it up

  • KezUnprepared

    I’ve never made it because I don’t have a food processor. However, you’ve just shown me a way around that – brilliant!

    • daddownunder

      Not only that but it’s the best way too in my humble opinion

  • Daniel

    Think we are on a similar page. Just made a whole heap of the stuff myself. Variation to yours… One I’m sure you will not be pleased about, no cheese. But, extra, extra pine nuts, some cashews, and a bit of pepper to try and make up for it.
    When stirring through the pasta I added some home grown cherry tomatoes, and some finely chopped snow peas for a crunch.
    The mortar and pestle sat this one out.

    • daddownunder

      We are definitely on similar pages Daniel. You’re in a region where you ‘should’ be eating cheese with everything. I like the sound of your lunch #pastamaster

  • Guest

    You need a thermomix! Pesto in 15 seconds. Nothing fastest better then homemade pesto!

    • Dad Down Under

      I’m one of those weirdos who isn’t really in a hurry when I cook, slowly, slowly, catchy monkey

    • daddownunder

      I’m alright thanks, I quite like the slowly slowly catchy monkey approach. Happy that you found your perfect pesto

  • Sonia from Sonia Styling

    This is so awesome. I too thought you needed a food processor to make pesto, but in reality all I need is a mortar, pestle and a dude with great guns! Hey pesto!

    • daddownunder

      I’ve seen pics of Mr Styling and I reckon you’ve probably got a dude with great guns, put him to work Son.

  • Julie

    We all love pesto in this house, and since a lot of store bought pesto includes garlic (I am allergic to it) I make my own. Here are my hints on basil growing