People-powered pesto!

For a spicy alternative, rocket leaves can be added to the basil and pounded together or you might like to try a parsley combination… Cooked chickpeas can be used in place of the pine nuts in case of allergy.

Fresh from the garden: basil
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Alice Waters in The Art of Simple Food
Makes: about 3 cups


  • Bowls – big, med, small
  • Scales
  • Salad spinner
  • Cheese grater
  • Medium frying pan
  • Mortar & pestle
  • Tea towel
  • Measuring jug
  • Tablespoon
  • Serving bowls if needed

  • 1 big bunch basil, to yield about 100g
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • Salt
  • 80g pine nuts
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil


What to do:

  • Pick the basil leaves from the stalks and weigh before you wash them!
  • Then wash in several changes of water and thoroughly spin-dry the basil.
  • Grate the parmesan cheese.
  • Heat the frying pan on a medium heat and lightly dry-toast the pine nuts, shaking regularly so that they don’t stick.
  • Peel the garlic clove and place in the mortar and pestle with a good pinch of salt. Pound these to a paste.
  • Add the pine nuts to the mortar & pestle and continue to pound. Once smooth-ish, transfer to the bowl and stir in the parmesan.
  • Tear the basil leaves and put them into the mortar with a sprinkle of flaked salt. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pine nut mixture to the mortar and, pounding it all together, gradually pour in all the olive oil.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Mix into steaming hot pasta, spread on bruschetta, drizzle over tomato slices, serve as part of an antipasto plate with goats’ cheese and roasted capsicum or spoon into serving bowls to serve as a dip with flatbreads.

Notes: What else can you use with pesto? What also goes with well with basil? Why do we toast the pine nuts? Can you name any other pasta sauces?

Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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