I bought a huge bunch of organic basil at the farmer’s market and decided to make it into pesto. I can’t imagine what else you could do with it so I cleaned it up and made a classic pesto, except I used walnuts instead of pine nuts and I added some lemon rind in as well. Plus, if you make it fresh, it’s so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Pesto essentially mean ‘paste’, so bear in mind that a little goes a long way — it’s very concentrated flavour. I’ve demonstrated using it in a stacked tomato salad, but there are several uses for pesto. Once you make it, it keeps nicely for 2 weeks in the fridge (or freeze it for a few months). Use it (sparingly) on pasta, for example, linguini, as a thin sauce on your pizza instead of or with tomato sauce or smear some on chicken or fish before cooking. Use your imagination.
makes about 1.5 cups
I large bunch basil leaves (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 cup nuts
3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in food processor and process until well combined and paste-like. Store in a clean jar in the fridge for 2 weeks.
Stacked Tomato Salad
This salad is the perfect starter for a summer dinner. When the tomatoes are ripe and sweet and plentiful, it’s perfect. Find some unique heirloom varieties and have some fun. Use some interesting cheeses, a splash of vinegar (I used balsamic) and a drizzle of pesto. (Thin with more olive oil so it’s not too thick). I’ve used asiago cheese here, but a buffalo mozzarella would be more perfect or boccocini– it’s open for interpretation. The key is simple, fresh, great quality ingredients.