Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Have you made your own pesto before? Well, you should. It takes so little effort, but the pay-off is mega. It really is a totally different thing altogether to the stuff you get in a jar (which, mind you, I also like), and a little goes a long way. The best part is it's super easy and you can cater to your own tastes.

The basic recipe for pesto is fresh basil + toasted pine nuts + garlic + olive oil + parmesan. The easiest way to make it is in a food processor, but it's simple enough to finely chop everything too.

To make a basic pesto for 2
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts dry fried in a pan until just toasted
large handful of basil
2 tbsp grated parmesan
plenty of olive oil

When you make your own pesto, you realise how much oil actually goes into it, and it is really not healthy at all despite all of the fresh ingredients! First, whizz up the dry ingredients and then slowly add the oil in, gently stirring as you go until you get the consistency you like.

My pesto usually varies depending on what we have in the fridge, so this version I made for a packed lunch features a small handful of basil leaves, a big handful of baby spinach, a clove of garlic, a little parmesan, a small handful of cashew nuts and two tablespoons of olive oil. The mixture could be looser, but I didn't want to load up on too much oil, so I added a little water to it instead.

I've also used cherry and sundried tomatoes before to make red pesto, and using a fried garlic clove takes some of the sharpness out of the raw stuff.

Since I'm trying to eat lots of salads and lighter lunches at the minute, I decided to make courgette noodles. Have you made them before? I usually grate a courgette with my julienne peeler and add it to spaghetti to pad out a meal a bit, but this time I just went for pure courgette, which I grated and then blanched in boiling water for about 30 seconds.

Next time I'm going to add some cherry tomatoes in for a different texture, and I've also heard of adding mashed avocado for a creamier sauce.

Got any epic pesto recipes for me to try?

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