The basil in the greenhouse is beginning to flower so it's time I made pesto. This easy recipe produces a jar of highly scented and delicious pesto which will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks (as if you're ever going to leave it that long!). I find the addition of a little citric acid helps to keep the fresh green colour and avoid oxidation.
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100g of fresh basil leaves
100g of pinenuts
150g of freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 fat cloves of garlic
100ml of a light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of citric acid, available online or from wine making suppliers
Begin by picking over your basil leaves, this just means picking the leaves off the stalks and discarding any that look damaged in any way. When using Greek basil I usually leave the tiny leaves on the finer stalks. I find using a food processor makes really light work of pesto making. Place the parmesan cheese, cubed into the processor and process until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency. Add the pinenuts and process again, add the garlic and again process until all appears evenly fine. Finally process the basil leaves and pour in the light olive oil until you have the creamy consistency you like. Adjust the seasoning, adding salt and if you're using it, the citric acid. Place in a lidded jar and keep in the fridge.
I like to use a heaped tablespoon of this pesto along with 500g of oven roasted tomatoes as a sauce for pasta, the freshness of the tomatoes, in my opinion enhances the rich herb and cheese flavour of the pesto.