It is a classic and easy pesto recipe. This pesto is loaded with toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic , fresh basil leaves and olive oil. If you’ve ever tasted pesto, there’s no need for me to explain why you would want to learn how to make it. It is one of the tastiest and most versatile spreads to keep in your fridge or pantry and it can spice up almost any meal or snack platter. Rocket pesto, red pepper pesto and basil pesto are some of the most delicious combinations around. For this recipe I will be focusing on the latter, but bear in mind that different ingredients can work just as well in the same proportions.
For example, exchange the pine nuts for walnuts and the basil leaves for rocket. The quantities and consistency remain the same, but the overall taste will be much different to this easy pesto recipe. Other delicious combinations to keep in mind are red pepper and pine nut, cilantro and sesame seed, sun-dried tomato with red wine and almonds, pumpkin or pumpkin seed and honey pesto and pistachio and lemon. If you’re allergic to nuts, use a combination of herbs to get the same level of complexity in your pesto. Traditionally, pesto consists of Parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts, basil, olive oil and good quality condiments. Fine Pecorino cheese is also often included. As long as you stay faithful to the paste-like texture of pesto, you can really get creative with the combination of ingredients that you use to create it.
When selecting the ingredients to use in this easy pesto recipe, bear in mind that the ingredients are not cooked or fried, but only blended. For this reason, it’s good to prioritize finding the best quality ingredients, you’ll taste the difference! Start with a high quality extra virgin olive oil. There is a website dedicated to finding and celebrating the world’s best olive oils, it’s called the Olive Oil Times. Check it out to see which oil has been awarded Gold in your country. If you’re not a fan of the taste of olive oil, opt for coconut or avocado oil instead. Vegetable or sunflower oil will ruin the flavor in this easy pesto recipe.
Pine nuts are known for being really healthy. They are good for your eyes and heart and they are even sometimes used as an appetite suppressant. The armandii variant of the nut is one to skip out on, while koraensis and sibirica are well-established and superior strains of the pine nut family. Opt for these at your local grocery store or deli. If you choose to toast the pine nuts for the easy pesto recipe, make sure that you do in a dry roasting dish or pan. Also be sure to watch that they do not burn, as this can happen really easily.
You can use sweet basil or Genovese basil in this easy pesto recipe. If you’re a fan of pesto and make it often, why not grow your own basil? Basil plants are easy to care for. They like moisture, so they do well when kept in the bathroom as well as the kitchen. Picking the leaves often actually causes a basil plant to thrive, so your greedy pesto-making fingers are in good company with this little critter.
I recommend that you roast the garlic before adding it to the pesto, although the pungency of fresh chopped garlic cloves is also welcome in pesto, as it is known for its strong, zesty flavor. Coarse ground sea salt and cracked black pepper are the best condiments to use in pesto.
Pesto is, surprisingly, really quick to make. All that is required is that you blend all of the ingredients together and then add the olive oil to create a spreadable texture and an even distribution of flavor. Do not blend the ingredients for too long, as the crunchy texture is one of the things that makes pesto such a delicious addition to a meal. This easy pesto recipe suggests that you use a food processor, but if you do not have one available, a hand blender will do just fine. Just be sure to chop the ingredients as finely as you can before adding them to the bowl.
For a low fat version of the easy pesto recipe, exchange the Parmesan for low fat ricotta or cottage cheese. Avocado is also a great substitute for the oil and the cheese. Some vegan recipes encourage you to exchange the cheese for nutritional yeast, but you can’t beat the guilt-free, creamy deliciousness of an avocado. Almond milk is also a great addition to the pesto mixture and it adds in a lovely creaminess.
It is definitely worthwhile to spend some time on the many things you can do once you have made this easy pesto recipe. The most obvious option is to spread it over bruschetta or crostini and serve it alongside fresh bread on a ploughman’s platter. You can actually also bake it into bread as a sort of interesting twist on traditional garlic bread. It is great swirled into an eggy breakfast such as scrambled eggs or an omelette. You can even pipe pesto into roasted tomatoes and serve them as a hors d’oeuvre or a colorful addition to a buffet table or snack platter.
It’s also great in a roasted, stuffed mushroom, on top of soft goat’s cheese. Mix it into salad dressing and pour it over Mediterranean roast vegetables or salad. Pesto and cream is a winning combination and its great mixed with long strands of soft, comforting pasta. Spread it over pizza or flat-bread, add it to home-made burger patties, mix it with a liberal helping of salted farm butter and spread it over a baked potato or serve it with meat and skip the tiresome process of marinating it. Stir a spoonful of tasty pesto into a soup to add a fresh dash of flavor to it.
However you choose to serve the pesto you create with this easy pesto recipe, it is sure to add a colorful and delicious element to your meal. I hope you enjoy this easy pesto recipe I have prepared for you.
EASY PESTO RECIPE ( BASIL PESTO)
- Parmesan cheese ( grated)- ½ cup ( 45 gm)
- Garlic clove- 1 large ( fresh or baked)
- Fresh Basil leaves- 2 cups ( 60 gm)
- Peanut nuts ( toasted) - ¼ cup ( 30 gm)
- Salt- ½ tsp
- Black Pepper- ¼
- Olive Oil- ½ cup ( 125 ml)
- Combine grated Parmesan cheese, garlic clove,salt & pepper in a food processor. Process until garlic is minced well.
- Add fresh basil leaves and pine nuts & beat until the basil leaves are finely ground.
- At this point, use the motor running. Gradually add olive oil and blend until almost smooth. Don't over process.
- Transfer to a small bowl, cover & refrigerate. It can be stored up to 1 week.
Viola! Easy Pesto Recipe!