A while ago, I made some macademia pesto. Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts and fresh basil leaves but back then, I had an abundance of good quality macadamia nuts after a holiday in Australia. So this time round, I decided to post a “proper” recipe for pesto using pine nuts. This is really simple to make and handy to have around. My current favourite use of pesto is to toss it with some spaghetti or angel hair pasta for an almost-instant, yet gourmet meal. Besides pasta, you can use it as a sauce over grilled meats, as a dip for nachos or a spread for baguette. The possibilities are limitless.
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(adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Sauces)
- 60g sweet basil leaves
- a few flat-leaf parsley leaves (gives the pesto an attractive vibrant green colour)
- 30g toasted pine nuts (I toasted them in a preheated oven of 180C for about 3-5 minutes, watch the oven as the nuts can burn easily. You can also toast them stove top in a heated dry pan)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 60g Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) cheese
- 125ml extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
You need a special type of food processor with a tube opening on top. I don’t have it so I used a normal blender together with a mortar and pestle.
Blend basil, parsley, nuts, garlic and cheese until well combined. With the blender motor still running, gradually pour in oil to achieve a thick, smooth consistency. If the pesto becomes too thick, add more oil. Since I do not have this special type of blender, I transfer the contents to a mortar and pestle after blending. Pound the ingredients using one hand while slowly pouring the oil with your other hand. Season with salt and pepper, or more cheese to taste. Keeps in fridge for about a week.
1. You can add 1 tsp balsamic vinegar if you like a slight tangy taste.
2. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface to slow the discoloration.
3. You can also freeze the excess pesto in ice cube trays. Omit the cheese from the recipe and only add them when you thaw the pesto (tip from Simply Recipes). When freezing, secure the ice cube tray with cling wrap and once frozen, store the pesto cubes in ziplock bags in the freezer (tip from Instructables).
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