If you use a mortar and pestle to make the pesto, you will have a creamier, more velvety pesto with a distinctly more intense basil flavour. Having said that, more often than not, I use my food processor. Why? Pesto making in my house coincides with the abundance of basil leaves that must be picked off all my basil plants to guarantee another basil crop in a few weeks time. Each harvest is at least 6 cups and I cannot bring myself to manually pulverised 6 cups especially as my mortar and pestle can only handle 1 cup comfortably at a time. Yes, excuses, excuses.

I am assuming that since most households would not be handling as much basil leaves, please, if you have a mortar and pestle, use that. The difference is discernible.

Pesto can be used not only on pasta.  There are so many ways to use it. In omelettes, spread over a pizza base, incorporated into a bread dough, as a sandwich spread, over vegetables and root vegetables, mashed potatoes, worked into fritters, as a sauce over lamb chops, fish, seafood, …. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity.

Pesto Using Almonds

Prep: 15 minutes 
Cook:
Inactive:
Level: Easy
Makes: ~1 cup
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? Refrigerate up to a week. Keeps in the freezer well over 2 months.

Ingredients

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves no stems
2 small garlic cloves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup ground almonds (without skins)
1/3 cup grana padano OR parmesan OR pecorino OR *
1/8 teaspoon salt to taste**
* a combination of 2 or 3 of the cheeses. In what ratios? It’s personal taste but having made many variations of pesto, I can share with you that it’s how you make the pesto (mortar and pesto makes the best!) and not the ratio of the cheese(s) that decides a good pesto.  Grana Pandano, parmesan and pecorino are the cheeses to choose.
** Taste before adding salt as cheeses differ in saltiness across brands. Adjust accordingly.

Method

1. Ideally, you want to use a mortar and pestle to makes pesto. If not, use a food processor or a blender.
2. If using a mortar and pestle: Grind up leaves and garlic. Work in the oil gradually, alternating with cheese and almonds. Taste and add salt as required. Bottle in clean jars.
3. If using a food processor, grind/blend well, leaves, garlic and oil. Then, still using the food processor, blend in almonds and cheese(s). Taste and add salt as required. Bottle in clean jars.
4. Always use a clean spoon to spoon out pesto.

To store
1. Cut a circle of parchment that would fit and cover the entire surface of pesto.  Alternatively, use plastic wrap to cover the entire surface of pesto. This helps to retain the colour of the pesto and keeps it fresher longer.
2. Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days. After which, transfer to freezer bags, flatten pesto out and expel as much air out. Seal shut. It freezers very well, well over 2 months for me.
3. To use from freezer, just break off whatever amount you need and add directly to the hot food. Alternatively, let it come to room temperature and use directly on food.

Tips

Ways to use pesto

Pesto can be used not only on pasta.  There are so many ways to use it. In omelettes, spread over a pizza base, incorporated into a bread dough, as a sandwich spread, over vegetables and root vegetables, mashed potatoes, worked into fritters, as a sauce over lamb chops, fish, seafood, …. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

I am off for a short summer holiday so I’m not going to be able to tell you the next recipe I am going to be posting as I have nothing planned! I have not packed and I leave tomorrow! Check back in about a week or two for my next recipe. If you are going on vacation, stay safe and have fun! If you are going to be staying home for summer, throw more parties!! 🙂

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