Another recipe that involves cooking with children, this time it’s Alex my nephew who is 10 (nearly 11).
Alex is exceptionally picky about what he eats but surprisingly makes for an enthusiastic cook! Which is great for a bit of uncle – nephew bonding.
I thought it would be good to make some Pesto as Basil is at the height of the season and is available in big bunches at Loches market for not a lot of money. Pesto in excellent dish to make if you are frugal gourmet as it is ridiculously expensive (and not that good) in the supermarkets. Pesto keeps if it is covered by olive oil and it freezes well which came as a bit of a surprise. You could make Pesto the old fashioned way with a mortar and pestle, but I use a food processor like everyone else.
The recipe below is for a classic basil based Pesto, but you can use other ingredients, in winter I like making Pesto with parsley and walnuts but that’s for another post.
To make a classic Pesto you need;
- A couple of good handfuls of basil
- A handful of pine nuts
- A clove of garlic
- A handful of freshly grated Parmesan or similar cheese such as Grana Padano
- Some decent olive oil
- Black Pepper
Making Pesto is simplicity itself, lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan under lightly coloured and you can smell the nut. Add the nuts to the food processor.
Wash and destalk your basil and put 2 good handfuls in with the pine nuts.
Add the cheese, a little bit of salt and a good turn of black pepper and a crushed clove of garlic.
Add a good slug of olive oil and process to form a a grainy sauce bound with the olive oil. You don’t want it stand a spoon in it thick but a nce oozy consistency.
if you are going to store the Pesto for any period of time transfer to a jar and ensure the top of the pesto is covered with a thin slick of olive oil.
You can use the pesto in many ways, classically a spoonful is stirred into pasta, but it is good with lamb, tasty on burgers and will even work with a firm fish.
Give it ago if you can particularly if you can get hold off some cheap basil.