Saturday Night in our household is usually Home Made Pizza Night – especially now we have our breadmaker, and whipping up a batch of pizza dough takes next to no time. Today, I had a hankering for some pesto drizzled on my pizza, but instead of buying a pot, I thought it might be fun to make it.
And it turns out that making pesto is ridiculously easy. And the results are utterly delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I have spoilt myself and don’t think I can ever go back to the jarred kind.
So, to make a batch of pesto you’ll need:
Fresh basil leaves – approximately all the leaves on a small plant (the size of plant you get at the supermarket)
50g of pine nuts
80g of finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
100ml olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
a good pinch of salt
a good squeeze of lemon juice. I don’t know if this is conventional, but it really cuts through the oil and lifts the flavours.
Put all your ingredients, excluding the lemon juice, into a blender of food processor, and blitz until you have a delicious, bright green ointment. It doesn’t have to be smooth, and in fact, a bit of texture is definitely a good thing. In the batch I made, a lot of the pine nuts had dodged the blade altogether and had stayed whole.
The reason I suggest leaving adding the lemon juice until the very end, is that it’s entirely subjective. You might taste your pesto right out of the blender and think it’s perfect, or you might want to add the juice of an entire lemon and give it a zingy kick. Whatever works for you. I reckon I squeezed in a couple of teaspoonfuls before I was satisfied. And mama, was I ever satisfied!
Give it a go. I promise you won’t regret it. Your batch of pesto should be enough for at least two servings of pasta and pesto, and will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or so.
(By the way, you should know that fresh pesto is absolutely epic on a slice of toast)