We have crazy amounts of fresh basil in the garden right now. Basil is one of those very generous plants that, when blooming, will provide an absolutely endless stream of basil leaves. Basil you can't keep up with. We planted four or so plants, and they've practically turned into small shrubs. As a herb, basil makes is a gorgeous garnish on top of dishes (especially pizza and bolognese), however if you've got a heck load to get through, then you have to make basil pesto.
Pesto originates in Liguria, Italy, and is a simple, but utterly delicious, combination of fresh basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil, blitzed/smashed together into a thick paste. It's traditionally served tossed though pasta, however is also fabulous spread onto crackers, tossed with potatoes, or as a sauce spooned over fish, meat or chicken. Whipping up basil is a speedy endeavour - from garden to plate (including cooking the pasta), it'll take you under 15 minutes. It's such a flavourful and vibrant dish, yet also totally simple. Yum!
Homemade Basil Pesto
4 packed cups basil leaves
1/2 cup pinenuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, or more to taste
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small lemon, juice
Salt, to taste
Olive oil, enough to make a thick paste
1. Into a blender add the basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Generously drizzle over olive oil.
2. Blend until its turned into a thick chunky paste (stopping to scrap down sides if needed).
3. Season with salt. Blitz again to incorporate.
4. Taste test, and adjust flavours if needed - add more cheese, oil, salt until you're happy.
Enjoy! My favourite way to eat pesto is traditionally - with pasta!
Have heaps of basil to get through? Try multiplying the recipe below and pouring the extra pesto into an ice cube tray. Freeze, and then enjoy in the future when your basil plant is no more!
Pine nuts can be a little pricey, so feel free to swap out for walnuts, almonds, pistachios or sunflower/pumpkin seeds.
For a dairy-free option, simply sub out the cheese - it's still delicious! Look at increasing nuts/seeds slightly to compensate.
Instead of basil you could use spinach, peas or kale for your greens.