Massacred Basil (aka the home-made pesto experiment)

Home-Grown BasilYesterday, my house was filled with the incredible smell of freshly massacred basil. For the first time, I made home made pesto. It is a beautiful toxic green colour and the perfect consistency, and I don’t think it’ll be embarrassed to be seen with some fettuccine and a green salad. I followed a recipe from a book that one of my  best friends gave me as a wedding present called

Not having had enough pine nuts, I simply added some pecan nuts and (shock! horror!) I used dried parmesan, not fresh. So what? It tasted amazing.

my adaptations to the official recipe:

  • +- 2 cups of fresh basil leaves with most of the larger stalks removed, squashed down. (my feeble plants aren’t big enough yet, so I had to buy some).
  • 8 cloves of garlic (only add this many if you like the taste of garlic – I used some pretty huge cloves and the result was interesting breath this morning)Home-Made Basil Pesto
  • about 7 tbs parmesan
  • about 50ml roasted pine nuts (when I roasted these a while ago, I almost burnt them. Lesson: don’t leave them unattended)
  • a small handfull of pecan nuts
  • a generous amount of olive oil (probably about 6 tbs ish)
  • a generous pinch of pepper. I don’t usually use salt in my cooking (another sin! I know!), especially not when using a salty cheese like parmesan.


Fettuccine with Home Made PestoPeel the garlic and throw it in a blender. Blend this up, then add the basil.  I like to use the pulse setting. Drive the neighbours crazy with the extraordinarily loud noise of your blender. Keep pulsing/blending the leaves until you get a nice green pulp, then throw in the olive oil, nuts, and parmesan. Add a sprinkle of pepper. Use a spoon or spatula to get any of the mix that is trying to climb the side of the blender and push it back down. Pulse/blend until you get a nice pesto-looking paste. I added some more olive oil at this point and gave it another quick pulse because it looked a little dry. It came out mean, green, and as the recipient of my experiments declared: “Holy Garlic!”

I cooked a bunch of fettuccine and when it was ready, I added some more olive oil to the pasta and then stirred in a generous blob of pesto and stirred it in. If I’d had some sour cream that hadn’t gone rotten, I’d have stirred a spoon of that in too.

Holy garlic, indeed.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Ugh. Blitz! I refuse! I also refuse to drizzle the olive oil! it will be slopped or perhaps swirled, if I’m in a more romantic mood. I still need to get a good old fashioned m & p so I can pound unruly ingredients into submission.

  2. RK says:

    Phew, relieved to see you didn’t use the word “blitz” for the food processor. I dream of making my own pesto (one day, soon come, etc.) – but I’d like to follow Antonio Carlucci’s example and use a mortar and pestle. He makes it look so easy. Another tip is to use almonds if pine nuts are few or too dear.

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