Pesto is one of those things that can be a bit insipid, perhaps uninspired even and it’s rarely chosen from an Italian menu when much more mouth-watering offerings jostle for attention on the menu. The thing is, a good pesto, whilst really simple can pack a flavour punch to suit the most adventurous of plates.
The readymade stuff is on, but when its home made with fresh basil, well, it just tastes of Italy.
The recipe here, after a bit of research appears to be the norm, what you do with it really is up to you, a myriad of possibilities await.
In this case, simple penne with a few sweet cherry tomatoes, do it justice. I mean come on, Basil and Tomato, everyone knows the two were made for each other, you do know this don’t you? If you don’t you should
The ingredients should not be taken as strict instruction, it really depends on your taste and taste, as ever is important. My advice, try with the measurements shown, then have a little taste and if it’s not quite right try , a little at a time, adding more. What you add more of is again up to you, basil gives it that deep metallic taste, parmesan adds that tangy salty not. You might want it runnier, then add more oil, lacking a bit of zest then add a touch more Lemon.
How you make it is also a choice of preference, purists will tell you only and pestle and mortar will do, I don’t really have the time for that so a food processor works just fine, either a full on multi-function device or one of the smaller hand held ones, just like this one, will suffice.
Oh and whatever you do , don’t use that horrible dried parmesan in a tub, that smells like feet and tastes little better.
Whatever your preferences, if you’ve not made your own pesto before, then try it at least once you might well wonder why you didn’t try it before
2 Handfuls of fresh basil leaves
1 handful of Pine nuts toasted
1 handful of grated parmesan
1 Garlic clove roughly chopped
Squeeze of Lemon juice
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper
Start by putting all of the ingredients except for the lemon and olive oil into your food processor and pulse until it forms a sort of paste, next pour in a little olive oil and pulse briefly again. If the sauce is not runny enough add a little more oil and repeat. Now add the lemon and after a brief pulse, have a quick taste if it’s not right add little more of what you like. That’s it really simple eh.
Here I just used some penne and when it was cooked, drained the pasta and stirred through a couple of tablespoons of the pesto.