June 28, 2009

basil pesto

This is the recipe I use for basil pesto. Because pesto is simple to make, the smallest changes make a big difference. I use very little garlic - half a clove at the most, often less - because I find the taste overpowering when it's raw. The best thing is the addition of butter, which I stole from Maxine Clark's Trattoria. The pesto is a little richer and creamier, and melts with more enthusiasm over hot things. The amount of basil leaves depends, for me, on how peppery and strong they are. I prefer young, small leaves, and I'll use more of them.

My apologies for the lack of posts recently; I was distracted by the sun and Scotland (not necessarily in the same place at the same time).

Basil Pesto
adapted from Maxine Clark, Trattoria

1/2 garlic clove (or even less), peeled and diced
55g pine nuts
approx 55g fresh basil leaves without stalks
150ml good olive oil, plus extra for sealing
35g unsalted butter, softened
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Place a small pan over medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toast them, dry, for a few minutes, until they begin to smell nutty; be careful not to burn them. Remove from the heat.

If you're using a food processor, you can throw everything in at once and blend until the pesto is as smooth as you like. If you prefer a chunkier pesto, use the pulse setting. I use a blender, and find it easiest to add the garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper, and a little oil to begin with. I then add the basil and more oil in gradual stages, until creamy and thick, and finally pulse in the butter and cheese.

Pesto will keep in the fridge in a jar, sealed with a layer of olive oil on top to exclude the air. Every time you spoon some out, re-seal with oil.


Antonio Tahhan said...

I never thought to add butter to pesto, but sounds like an interesting addition :)
wonderful photographs, too!

Anonymous said...

1. Yum

2. Brilliant font

3. Brilliant photos (especially the second one)

Anonymous said...

Plus, pesto can do so much more than pasta. How about on toasted baguette slices? Or scrambled eggs? Or on a clean, shiny spoon? And butter, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Anyway, I found you on TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.


Deborah said...

This looks just like summer to me!!

Tessa said...

Wow this looks awesome! Your photos are always amazing.

sarah the baker yoon said...

oh i love love love your blog!!!

(i love making my own pesto as well! it's soo delicious!)

Michelle said...

that top photo is just excellent--i love mason jars.

Sprouted Kitchen said...

beautiful photos! fabulous color you have. I think i typically get carried away with the nuts and cheese and end up with a creamy version :/

mary said...

Beautiful photos. I will be back to read your blog again.

Laura said...

Wow, tried this recipe tonight and it was amaaazing. Yet to try it on pasta but it was just perfect as the sauce on a flatbread pizza with red pepper, bocconcini, basil leaves, and mushrooms. The photos sold me on the recipe a few months ago and I'm so glad I bookmarked it!

Laura said...

With all the in-season basil... I am just loving this recipe!

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