From Mud To Mouth – Hey Pesto!
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.
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?