- 50g pine nuts
- 100g fresh basil leaves
- 35g (1½ oz) freshly grated parmesan
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 150-200ml (5-6½oz) extra-virgin olive oil
- Place the pine nuts, basil, parmesan and garlic in a food processor or blender and process until the mixture is roughly chopped.
- With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream, and process until the mixture is combined and thick. The pesto should retain some texture. It will remain a good green colour unless it is over-processed.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Store in a screw-top jar, cover with a thin film of oil, and keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.
All you want are leaves - small, medium or large - as long as they are a healthy green, not dark or blackened. Discard any flower buds, stems or leaves of basil that aren't in good shape. Always use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for pesto.
Pesto freezes well. If you intend to freeze the pesto, leave out the parmesan and add it when you thaw and use it. A good idea is to freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. When it's frozen, just pop the cubes out of the tray and put them into a freezer bag. When you need them, just take one of two of the cubes out.
Pesto makes a great marinade for lamb (especially for cutlets or chops or fillets). Add an extra clove of garlic and extra olive oil to make the pesto more liquid. There is no need to add the parmesan. Marinade the meat in a ceramic bowl, turning often for up to 6 hours.