How does your Basil grow?
As mentioned in a previous post, the basil in the herb spiral is growing very well. The time had come to harvest and make pesto. I don't make pesto to a specific recipe, instead I usually experiment and use whatever I have in the pantry/fridge. So the following is a guide and contains various substitution options, based on your likes/ dislikes/ pantry situation.
For this recipe I used:
- Bail (10 Cups)
- Sun-dried Tomatoes (5-6)
- Sun-dried Tomato Oil (5-7 Tbsp)
- Parmesan Cheese (5 Tbsp)
- Walnuts (5 Tbsp)
- Cold Pressed Olive Oil (if required)
I collected about two colanders worth of basil leaves, so approximately 10 cups of Basil, added it to my blender (the all-mighty Vitamix). Next I added about 5 or 6 Sun-Dried Tomatoes (all that was left in the jar) and the oil from the jar. The sun-dried tomatoes that I buy are preserved in olive oil and the delicious tomato flavour has infused itself into the oil, along with whatever herbs are used to flavour the tomatoes. This is the secret ingredient that really makes it.
Turn the blender/food processor on its lowest setting and sundried tomato oil a little at a time, to allow the basil to be blended. Turn off the blender and add Parmesan cheese. The amount of cheese depends on how strong its flavour is and how strong a flavour you like. I have really strong flavoured cheese and love a strong flavour, so I added about 5 Tablespoons. Next add whatever nuts you prefer. Most recipes call for pine nuts, but these are super expensive. I had an open packet of walnuts, so used those. Pecans, cashews, pepitas, sunflower seeds are also good options.
|Inside the blender|
Turn the blender back onto its lowest setting and blend away, adding more oil if required. The secret to good pesto is blending it until it is combined, but still a little chunky.
I then spooned out the pesto into cupcake molds and stuck them in the freezer. Once they'd frozen I popped them into a container and will now have pesto for several months.
|Sort of chunky perfection|
|Enough to freeze|
If making large batches of pesto, it is much easier to freeze them into single batch portions, then chuck the portions, once frozen into a container.