Thursday 30 July 2009

It's pesto time again.

I don't have a garden and if I did have, I'm sure it would be full of dead things and weeds as I most certainly don't have a green finger anywhere on my body. One of my regrets in this department is that I miss out on growing edibles, never mind the pretty and useless flowers, I'd use any garden of mine for herbs and veg. I do slightly envy gardening friends at this time of year as they swim in basil and I buy mean little plastic packs from the supermarkets which turn to sludge overnight in the fridge. These packs irritate me so much that I hardly buy the delicious green herb at all these days. But yesterday I was shopping at my local Vegan Co-op Grocery, Unicorn, in Chorlton when I saw the most luscious bunches of basil for only 99 pence each, there was no way I could resist so I picked up two bunches. All I needed to do was to buy some pecorino and some pine nuts and I'd be all ready to make my pesto - here's how

The Ingredients:
2 big bunches of basil
pine nuts
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated
(all of one or a mix of both, the pecorino gives a slightly softer taste.)
4 garlic cloves
the best quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

The Method
Blend together the grated cheese, raw garlic and pine nuts. This is much better than using a pestle and mortar because, firstly it will stop your arm from dropping off and secondly and most importantly, it lets in much less air and keeps the colour lovely and vibrant.

Fill the mixer bowl to the top with lovely fresh basil, stalks and all.

Mix and inhale the intoxicating scent.

Drizzle in enough olive oil to make a thick paste.


Pour into sterilized jars, and very important - make sure to cover the top of the pesto with more oil and keep it covered at all times, else it will go off really fast. The jars will keep unopened in the fridge for ages, but eat open jars fairly fast. As if you could leave it alone!

If you make lashings of the gorgeous green goo, you can decant into ice cube trays I'm not blessed with a big freezer and I like to keep my ice cube trays fully primed for gin and tonics so I decant the pesto cubes into a bag. It was a bit of a green and messy fiddle as the cubes wouldn't come out easily, so I warmed their bottoms and then lined up on a board and re-froze the melted edges before putting in a bag. Just pop one in the pan with your pasta before serving for long enough for it to melt - which won't be long. Enjoy!

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