You will need:
- 3 ounces basil leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 30g pine nuts
- 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 65g of grated pecorino cheese - use parmesan if you can't get pecorino
- a pinch of salt
Basil grows in my garden in a big blue pot. The blue looks so bright against the green and when the sun shines on them both I could very easily be in the Mediterranean.
Basil has one of those smells that never fails to make people exclaim, in some way or another, how much they love it. When it’s torn the scent fills the kitchen with a certain culinary promise and when it is in the process of being cooked it can make people actually rub their hands together in a mad professor type way and beg to know what they will soon be eating.
Basil also has the added bonus of being one of those things that you can pick and eat in one deft movement. This appeals to me. I like the notion that, if I so wished, I could go out to my garden in a 1940′s-esque tea dress, barefoot, hair loosely pinned back and create a handheld bite using only basil and a piece of torn mozzarella.
As you can see from the above picture I have put together the easiest lunch/ summer party canape/snack before bedtime when you’re hungry but not THAT hungry, using only biscuits, mozzarella, a basil leaf, half an olive and a slice of sun-dried tomato.
These are super if you want to look fancier than you really are. Or, if you have a little more self-esteem than that, they are great should you want to give guests/children/loved ones something nice to eat!!
So, it would seem that I’ve been gorging on basil for a few weeks now. But it wasn’t until recently that I decided to pick a great deal of my stash and buy a couple of extra pots from the market in order to make basil pesto.
You’d be right in thinking that you need a fair amount of basil leaves to make pesto but certainly not as much as you’d think. In fact I ended up using the two growing pots of basil and only a handful from my garden pot. Which I’m pleased about as I like the look of it and wanted it to last a bit longer.
Slightly defeats the point of growing your own, I realise.
Robert the Husband “Shall we pick those broad beans that we’ve been growing for weeks and eat them for supper tonight, dear wife?”
Cherry “NO. We are not to pick them. They look good out there”
Robert the Husband “……………………………..”
And so it goes on.
Here is my recipe for Basil Pesto.
These amounts will serve at least four adults if stirred into pasta, even more if you use it as a dip. For a weight conversion chart, click here!
- Whizz all of the ingredients, APART FROM THE CHEESE, together in a food processor until they have been pureed.
- Grate the cheese into the mixer bowl and give one final whizz until all has been combined.
And that is it.
If you don’t have an electric mixer then chop the basil and the pine nuts very finely and put them in to a pestle and mortar. Crush the garlic, add to the basil and nuts and give those three ingredients a good pummelling. Transfer to a bowl, add the olive oil and salt, stir well. When they have been mixed together, mix in the grated pecorino cheese.
Here is basil pesto coating gnocchi and served with sun-dried tomatoes, garnished with a single basil leaf. This was the fastest supper I have ever made and was lovely.
However, this is what we had last night. It was the hottest night of the year so far and we revelled in the balminess of it all.
Linguine coated in homemade basil pesto and served with garlic and chili king prawns.
I bought enough king prawns for two (about 12), added a chopped clove of garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil and about this much lazy chili………
Stirred them all together, covered them and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate.
When Robert got home I boiled the pasta, drained it, stirred in half of the basil pesto that I gave you the recipe for. When the pasta was about three minutes away from being done I put the prawns and their marinade in to a hot wok with one further tablespoon of olive oil and fried them up until the were pink and sizzling.
I served IMMEDIATELY!
Look at that dish! The pink of the prawns on the green of the pesto. This dish is wonderful and is likely to be inhaled as opposed to savoured…..or perhaps that’s just Robert and I and our distinct lack of table manners when it’s just the two of us.
If you like the sound of seafood pasta then you may also like this recipe, from last summer.
I’ll be back here tomorrow morning and look forward to seeing you!
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