I love basil. It’s right up there with rosemary and mint as one of my favorite herbs, so it will come as no surprise that we grow lots of it here on the Tiny Trowels plot. We grow it in the greenhouse next to the tomatoes and it always does really well. They are perfect partners growing together and perfect partners on the plate.
When you grow your own food there are often gluts so I’m always looking for ways I can make the most of what we grow. Pesto is the prefect solution for storing the flavours of summer so they can be used in the depths of winter. It is so versitile, whether its stirred through warm pasta, in a cheese toastie, baked over salmon, mixed through roast potatoes… the list goes on. With the added bonus that kids love it it’s a must to have in stock. Pesto pasta in less than 10 minutes has to be winner with every parent! So why not make a batch, it’s really quick and easy to make, the most time comsuming bit will be taking all the basil leaves off the stalks. Once it’s made it can then be frozen (without the cheese) and you have homegrown basil pesto to hand for whenever you need it.
2 cups basil leaves – really pack the leaves in.
½ nuts (traditionally these would be pine nuts but I use whatever is to hand)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ grated parmesan
2 garlic cloves crushed
- Pop the basil leaves, nuts and crushed garlic in a food processor and pulse until it’s mixed together. I have used almonds and cashews to sustitute pine nuts in the past and it really doesn’t make that much difference.
- Keep the food processor going and slowly add the oil in a steady stream. You may need to scrape down the sides to make sure you haven’t missed any bits.
- It’s at this stage I freeze my pesto, before the cheese is added. I have a silicone ice tray that the mixture goes into giving me long sticks of pesto I can then break up or use whole depending on how much I need.
- Once it’s defrosted you just stir in your grated cheese and you are good to go. Enjoy!