Jill's Basil Pesto recipe

It’s that time of the year when, if you grow basil, it is prolific. Pesto time!
This year I grew two types of basil, one of which was labeled for pesto on the seed packet.

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On the left is the type of basil you would buy in a pack sold by Guernsey herbs. On the right is the ‘pesto’ one. The obvious differences are shape of leaf and leaf size. The ‘pesto’ one is a little coarser too.

So, I tend to make largish batches for the freezer. To get a nice green pesto you need to blanch the leaves (and refresh in icy water), then get as much water out as possible - a little like spinach. This is a bit of a faff, let alone time consuming. So, if you are not bothered that your frozen pesto looks grey, just use raw leaves.

The recipe I use is:-

1 large clove of garlic (more if like). I don’t like garlic to take over the taste so am abstemious in my use of it.
4 cups of fresh basil leaves (blanched if fussy like me!)
1 cup grated Parmesan (or Manchego for anyone with cow intolerances)
2/3 cup pinenuts (which is a small packet) or walnuts etc.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil (I don’t use extra virgin as I find the taste overtakes in pesto)

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I tend to get everything ready like pulling the leaves off the stems and washing. Grating the cheese, peeling the garlic etc.

Once ready it all goes in the food processor. I start with half a cup of oil and add more if necessary. The consistency should be soft but not runny. A little like cake mixture falling off the spoon. Once it is the right consistency, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

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I freeze in trays I got from Lakeland but any ice cube type trays work too. I prefer to freeze like this and I can get out as many or as few as I need.

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Bon appetito!

Emma DespresComment