Over this weekend I was getting a warm fuzzy feeling that tricked me into thinking that I am not in the middle of August but in some splendid March sunny day, when the days just start warming up but you still can stand being in the sun for more than 15 minutes.
As with most things, my state of mind will effect my cooking and so this week I started adding some baked dishes in my lunch/supper menu. Being nice and breezy gives me the peace of mind that I can spend some extra time in the kitchen and not cook the quickest simplest dish to get out of the firey heat.
So this week, I prepared one of my daughter’s favorite pasta sauces, fresh pesto. Pesto is an Italian sauce which is prepared differently in the different regions. The variations on the basic recipe all depend on what is abundant in that region. Pesto Siciliano for example has tomatoes whilst pesto Genovese has lots of basil.
Pesto Genovese is probably the most know and the most consumed, now produced in large amounts commercially, most of us just keep a handy jar in the store cupboard (which keeps for months) for that quick plate of pasta!
There is more that one can use pesto for besides as a pasta condiment, my husband uses it as part of his secret chicken marinade, you can also use it as part of your salad dressings.
The basil in my garden is pretty abundant at the moment so preparing this sauce came pretty easy. Basil grows easily in pot or window boxes and can be grown from seeds. You can also buy little seedlings from most garden nurseries and replant at home into a larger pot.
The proper Genovese Pesto is made with pine nuts, however these are pretty expensive locally. If you wish to substitute the pine nuts, I suggest using walnuts or even almonds. Don’t forget pesto is a thick sauce so a little bit of sauce will take you a long way. Here is what you need
200 gr. Pine nuts
1 large bunch of fresh basil leaves – remove all stalks
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the best you can afford
Grated Parmesan Cheese.
Place the basil leaves and nuts in a food processor and with the motor running drizzle enough olive oil to create a paste. Add the cheese and taste. Do not add any salt or pepper, however, if required, add some more cheese. It is important to blend well after each addition. If you have made too much pesto to consume all in one go, place the extra amount in a sterilized jar and top with more olive oil so that all the pesto is covered with oil.
Pesto will keep for 1 week but is best consumed fresh.