basil pesto

July 31, 2010

Oh holy garlic and olive oil and salt. Where have I been? Why has homemade pesto not been in my life for longer?! It is beyond all superlatives. But let’s try: creamy, fragrant, garlicky, salty, smooth, fresh, rich. Please go to your kitchen and make some now. It is worth every 10 of the minutes it will take you. It’s actually worth way more. I always loved eating “pesto pasta” when I was cooking for myself at uni but it was always obviously out of a jar. I don’t know many students who were whipping out their blenders. This just takes the biscuit. Homemade is what it’s all about!

Okay, I think there was something else I wanted to talk about. Oh yes…

So this year I got really bummed because I missed out on signing up for a CSA on time. Bah. We were organized-ish but when it came time to part with $350 all at once…well, it just wasn’t happening. Sad.

The alternative? The Farmer’s Market! You’ve been hearing about it all week and here’s why it’s brilliant. It may not be as fun a surprise as receiving a box of unique goodies each week, but a surprise it still is. And fun it definitely is.

You trot along maybe expecting strawberries, but guess what! You’re too late already! Better buy some snap peas instead because there’s a zillion of those suckers. I like that you get to support multiple farmers too. I try to spread the love at the market and never buy too much from one vendor. Wandering round the stalls, meeting the farmers and making what is essentially 100% impulse buys is my kind of good time.

I also love love love seeing what’s in abundance, going with the flow and just picking up what’s fresh.

So, farmer’s market, round three! After making blueberry crumb bars and zucchini and olive french breakfast cake, I was kind of on a roll. I have been wanting to try my hand at making pesto for a while and I thought I’d start out with an easy and simple version so that I have a basic foundation to build from. I recommend using this recipe as your starting point if you’ve never made pesto before – it’s super easy!

Basil Pesto

Makes about 1 1/2 cups


  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (almost a blenderful)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (if using immediately)


  1. Wash basil leaves and pat dry.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine toasted nuts, basil leaves and garlic until well-combined. While machine is running, pour in olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. If using immediately, stir in grated cheese. If freezing, spoon into an ice-cube tray for individual portions, or larger containers such as yogurt containers. To defrost, allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and stir in cheese.

I had some immediately with pasta and it made such a bloody delightful late evening summer supper that I am pleading with you to make this NOW. Like tonight. Go and find some basil and just do it. Don’t forget a cold glass of white wine! Perfect.

The rest of it I froze (without cheese) – to use again, simply thaw and add parmesan.

For other homemade ideas you might want to try:

> homemade tomato sauce
> homemade hummus

What jarred or store-bought thing have you made at home? Or what are you itching to try?

I’d love to make romesco sauce!

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