Basil is one of the most traded items on Crop Swap in the summer, and if you can’t share it fast enough then the next best thing to do is to wow your family and friends with some delicious basil pesto.
There’s plenty of recipes online for pesto, but don’t be fazed! Pesto is one of those recipes that should capture some of your personality and reflect your sense of taste. There’s no science to the quantities, so just work with what your tastebuds are shouting and don’t be shy of substituting flavours.
Don’t like pine nuts? Cashews, pistachios or walnuts are totally acceptable alternatives.
Hate Parmesan cheese (like me)? You can crank the flavour up with Romano or any other hard Italian cheese.
If your basil has taken over the patch, you might be inclined to go heavy on the quantities in your recipe. Keep in mind that basil is like the Mike Tyson of herbs – it packs a lot of flavour punch despite being small in quantity. If you want to take the edge off that flavour profile you can look to add other leafy greens like baby spinach or parsley.
Check out our Growers Guide to Basil here.
- 45g (1/4 cup) pine nuts
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 small garlic cloves, halved
- 60g (3/4 cup) shredded parmesan
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread the pine nuts over a baking tray. Bake in oven for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
- Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream until well combined.
- Add to pasta or use as an addition with a roast meal.
Pesto will store in the freezer for a few months. We like to divide the mixture into airtight ice-cube containers (the sort you use to divide baby food mush) so you can defrost in portion sizes, rather than having to use all the leftovers in one hit. It’s good to drizzle with olive oil before putting in the freezer as this will make it easier to remove.
To thaw, just put in the fridge for a few hours or speed things up with a quick zap in the microwave.