There are things that are so simple and yet so incredibly brilliant that they make your day.
Like wearing shoes that look great AND are comfortable.
Like signing up to Netflix and being able to watch 4 episodes of your favourite show in a row. Or 40. Or 400.
Like the feeling you get AFTER you have exercised. And you were in the gym for only 20 minutes!
Like going to a café in central London and getting the last available table. And it’s in the sunshine.
Like making your own amazing pesto.
Shop-bought pesto and I have not been getting on for a long time. Most brands that come in a jar taste somewhat sour – whether that’s from the preservatives or the actual ingredients is hard to say. I’ve tried the “fresh” variety from the deli, which is acceptable but just not amazing enough for the price tag it comes with. And then there have been various times where my supermarket pesto was actually off and tasting bitter.
The poor kids were so hungry they only mentioned it once they had almost finished their plates.
The thing is, pasta pesto is one of the firm favourites in this household, right up there with pizza. I firmly believe around 95 percent of kids are hardwired to like pasta pesto. When my children have friends over, there will be a few who do butter only or tomato sauce only and there has been one poor darling who insisted to have pasta without ANYTHING else (I did feel guilty about that). The majority though will happily munch a portion of pasta pesto and gracefully accept a side salad.
So yesterday I decided to make my own green pesto. Fresh, from scratch. And you know what? It was not only super-easy, but also smoked all the shop-bought pesto varieties I’ve ever tasted.
The jam jar I had filled up to the brim with it was empty by the evening.
We did eat it with pasta, but of course, pesto is a super-versatile sauce. Have it in a tomato and mozzarella salad. Marinate meat or fish with it. Mix it into ricotta or sour cream to make a dip or stuffing.
Little effort, maximum effect: Home-made pesto smokes all shop-bought varieties.
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (ca 3 small bunches)
- 50g pine nuts
- 50g pecorino cheese
- 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Dry-roast the pine nuts in a pan until golden.
- Pulse the whole lot in the food processor until smooth.
- If you don’t want to use the pesto straight away, transfer it into a jar and cover with a little extra oil, then seal and store in the fridge. It will keep in a fridge for up to two weeks.
- If you are freezing, process without the cheese and pour into an airtight container, drizzle olive oil on top and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Add the cheese before serving.
use half spinach, half basil
add a chili pepper for heat
use walnuts instead of pine nuts
add a squeeze of lemon juice