Saturday, October 1, 2011

Homemade Basil Pesto


I love the flavour of fresh Basil and perhaps my favourite way to enjoy basil is in pesto. This simple sauce is made primarily from basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and a few other key ingredients. It's fast and easy to make, with a bold flavour that tastes like summer on a plate. If you've never made pesto sauce before, now is your chance and trust me it’s a whole lot different from a readymade jar that you would pick up from the market.  All you need are the following ingredients and about 15 minutes, and you'll have a knockout Pesto in no time that you can use to whip up some delicious meals or snacks in no time...and which you can proudly say were made from scratch!! J



Ingredients

2 cups packed fresh Basil Leaves
¼th cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4th cup Pine Nuts (You can also substitute Pine Nuts with Almonds or Walnuts if you cant find Pine Nuts, flavour would be a little different but would taste great either ways)
4-5 peeled cloves of Garlic
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Few drops of lemon juice (this is just to preserve the lovely green colour

Method:

·         In a skillet toast the pine nuts for a few minutes. This deepens their flavour and definitely improves the pesto in the end. Watch the pine nuts carefully, as they have a tendency to easily burn. Take them off the heat when they become fragrant and start to turn a golden brown. Let the toasted pine nuts cool completely.
·         Now the difficult part.. don’t worry just kidding J . Add all your ingredients the basil leaves, garlic, grated cheese, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, pepper and finally the olive oil in a blender (I have a simple mixer, if u have a food processor you can add the oil while the other ingredients are being blended) and just whiz it for about a minute. You can add the oil in 2 parts If u wish. Just ensure it’s a nice homogenous paste.





Your pesto sauce is now finished! My favourite way to enjoy this is simply tossed with hot pasta & as a sandwich spread--try sprinkling some extra Parmesan and pine nuts on top of the pasta for an extra flavour boost. This pesto sauce is also incredible as a dipping sauce or a chicken marinade. You can use it anytime you want to add the fresh taste of summer to your meals.


BTW you can store the pesto in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks or store it in the freezer for about 6 -8 months. 

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