Pesto – with an Andalucían twist

27 Aug

All lined up for a Family Portrait

Basil grows like crazy here.  Well, it does if the slugs don´t get the first batch that you put into the ground in Spring.  After replanting, I finally got my usual lovely crop of basil which I was using for salads, soups, seasoning and many other things beginning with the letter “s”.

There comes a point when you have to cut it back, as it starts to want to flower and the stalks begin to get a little tough and woody.  This is one bit of greenery my chickens are not going to enjoy as a treat…it´s going to become my annual batch of pesto.  I always make plenty (and I´ll probably make at least one more batch) as something mysterious always seems to happen to my little jars of pesto.

It works like this….visitors come from the UK.  They discover my despensa (that´s a walk in larder) and start to disappear for longer and longer.  When they leave to go home, their suitcases are strangely heavy.  I go into the despensa and find greatly reduced stocks of marmalade, jams and pesto!  It´s a funny thing…. I still haven´t worked out what is happening in there.

Anyway, as to exact measurements, it´s hard to say as much will depend on the strength of your garlic, the pungency of your cheese, the fruitiness of your olive oil.  The little twist to my pesto is nothing that exotic or mysterious…but it´s hard (and expensive) to buy pine nuts here, and as we have a couple of almond trees in our little olive grove, I just substitute almonds for pine nuts.

My food processor seems to have worn down its blade slightly, so this year´s pesto was a little chunkier than usual as I couldn´t grind the almonds down to a fine powder.  That said, it tastes amazing, and a day after taking the photos the sauce is a beautiful vivid green colour.

You´ll need basil leaves, salt, a hard cheese such as parmesan (I also used some hard sheep´s milk cheese as the parmesan I had was nothing too special) which you need to grate, olive oil, and garlic.

For about 8 cups of basil I used 3 large cloves of garlic, about 3 cups of grated cheese, 2 cups of ground almonds, 3 teaspoons of sea salt and 1 litre of olive oil.  This gave me just over one and a half litres of pesto.

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You can make it in a food processor, although I had to switch to doing smaller batches with my hand blender because of my ineffective blade.  Taste and add….more salt, go for it….now more cheese….too thick, add more oil.  You get the picture.

Put into sterilised jars when you are done, it will keep for a year.  But only if you put a lock on the larder door.


52 Responses to “Pesto – with an Andalucían twist”

  1. cookerann August 27, 2011 at 00:50 #

    Looking good! Never tried almonds in my pesto but with the soaring price of pine nuts, I may just have to give them a try.

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 11:37 #

      Can highly recommend the substitution! And thanks for visiting!!

  2. Yvette August 27, 2011 at 00:52 #

    Theres nothing better than fresh pasta and basil pesto. Delicious! And the perfume in your kitchen would be amazing with all that fresh basil!

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 11:38 #

      Things did smell pretty good for a long time, I have to say!

  3. Bluejellybeans August 27, 2011 at 01:42 #

    Hello there chica!
    Nice recipe and nice layout too.

  4. ChgoJohn August 27, 2011 at 03:06 #

    I, too, love pesto and make a couple variations — and you’ve just given me another to add to my repertoire. It sounds delicious! Thanks.

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 11:39 #

      That´s the good thing about pesto – you can play around with it quite a lot by changing herbs etc.

  5. ceciliag August 27, 2011 at 04:02 #

    pesto is one of those dishes that lives in and multiplies in my fridge all summer long.. I am often surprised eating it off a spoon, with my head stuck into the refrigerator.. I love it,,.make it weekly .but have never made it with almonds.. i will try that.. thank you darling!! c

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 11:39 #

      Aha – so I´m not the only one to the head in the fridge thing then!

  6. chaiselongue1 August 27, 2011 at 09:54 #

    Wonderful! And what a good idea to make it with almonds. I can get pine nuts here, but they’re expensive. (I wonder if I could find them on the pine trees around here?) I didn’t realise you could keep home made pesto for so long – I’ve always just made enough to use within a few days.

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 11:40 #

      The almonds don´t make a huge difference to the taste – quite delicate. And yes, it can keep for ages (if it lasts that long in your home!).

  7. TheDorsetFinca August 27, 2011 at 10:10 #

    I adore pesto and could pretty much eat it on and with, anything! Yours looks particularly delicious. Now that I have mastered the art in keeping basil plants alive that I bought from the supermarket, I have a good supply to attempt this with! 🙂

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 11:41 #

      it´s harder to keep int he UK although my mum seems to have great success on her kitchen window sill (inside).

  8. Emily August 27, 2011 at 13:27 #

    Delicious! My American mother also makes this with her friends or my aunties every summer in the midwest! As great as the food is in Turkey Basil is not a popular ingredient. My plant died though- my own fault of sporadic watering. But I found this random basil plant the gardeners planted at our sitesi(housing complex) next to the water faucet where you clean your feet after coming out of the sea. They put it there for greenery but I come and clip it every so often.It’s thriving since it is constantly watered! Anyways nice post! And want to explore your blog more:)

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 15:14 #

      That´s funny – basil is not very widely used in Spain either! It´s a plant with smaller leaves is used to keep mosquitos away. Glad you´ve found some you can use though and thank you for your kind words. I see you´ve subscribed, so do hope you continue to enjoy what you see!

  9. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide August 27, 2011 at 13:54 #

    This is precisely why I lock my pantry. Even Katherine doesn’t have a key. I love that you make so much from plants that would otherwise go to waste.

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 15:15 #

      Would love to be one of those Victorian Housekeepers with a big set of keys at my waist! Mond you, I think the Butler had the keys to the wine cellar, so I´d want those keys too…

  10. TBM August 27, 2011 at 14:26 #

    Not only do your creations always look tasty, I love how beautiful and artistic the final products look.

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 15:16 #

      Ah thank you – was a bit worried about this photo as the pesto looked so dark!

  11. The Gourmet Wino August 27, 2011 at 15:06 #

    Great tip about storing the pesto. Normally I freeze mine sans cheese and then add the cheese once it has thawed out, but I would really rather it to be totally fresh. I will try this with my next batch – which will probably be the last of the season. 😦

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 15:16 #

      It really does keep as I found a jar of last year´s pesto lurking at the back of the cupboard and it was absolutely fine!

  12. Tammy August 27, 2011 at 15:33 #

    I always wondered how long it would keep (with the lock of course). Thanks for the post – I have much easier access to almonds than I do pine nuts.

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 15:36 #

      Yes, you definitely need the lock on the door! To be honest, if you get the nuts ground finely, you won´t notice a huge difference in the taste either (or if you do, it´s a nice difference) 🙂 Thanks for visiting and commenting, much appreciated.

  13. Mad Dog August 27, 2011 at 15:51 #

    That looks fantastic – you should buy a lock, I’d steal it!

    I used to buy an aged Manchego as a Parmesan substitute – there are some which are quite similar.

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 16:39 #

      Yes, some of the “quesos curados” are pretty similar and work well as a substitute. Thanks for your kind words!

  14. thecompletecookbook August 27, 2011 at 15:57 #

    It is easy to see why your guests’ suitcases are heavier when they leave! These would also make for wonderful Christmas gifts – for those that never got to take the first time around. 😉
    Have a happy weekend.
    🙂 Mandy

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 16:40 #

      Hee hee….my thieving guests! I love them all really, so always make things in little jars for them to take back with them Have a great weekend too!

  15. ambrosiana August 27, 2011 at 19:26 #

    Adding almonds instead of pine nuts is a great idea. I personally do prefer almonds! Great recipe and great tip for storing pesto!!

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 20:08 #

      I know nothing beats freshly made pesto, but I can´t bear to throw away so much basil and also I can´t seem to quite keep it alive all year round!!

  16. gardenfreshtomatoes August 27, 2011 at 20:30 #

    I’ve seen lots of variations, but never the almonds – very cool! Especially with pine nuts costing almost as much as saffron these days…
    Did you measure the 2 cups before you ground the almonds, or after?

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 20:34 #

      Pine nuts are incredibly expensive, you´re right! I measured the almonds before I ground them…opps, should have said that!

  17. thefooddoctor August 27, 2011 at 21:14 #

    Love pesto..I make mine with walnuts but I have to try it with almonds..I am sure it will be amazing! Thanx for the tip

    • chicaandaluza August 27, 2011 at 23:10 #

      Wow, walnuts must add an incredible flavour. If I have any basil still alive in the autumn when we get our walnuts, will give that a go!

  18. Mandy Vellacott August 28, 2011 at 17:57 #

    Good recipe – I have been using a particular recipe for years now but will give yours a try. One suggestion that was given in the recipe I use was to make and store your pesto WITHOUT adding the cheese and add that when using. It apparently stores better without the cheese in.

    • chicaandaluza August 28, 2011 at 19:33 #

      I had never heard the tip about leaving out the cheese but it has now been mentioned a couple of time here. Makes sense! Thanks for visiting – hope you liked what you saw 🙂

  19. JamieAnne August 28, 2011 at 18:00 #

    This looks lovely! And delicious. I don’t tend to tell people where I keep my canned goodies. Heh! Keep them secret, keep them safe.

    • chicaandaluza August 28, 2011 at 19:33 #

      Sometimes it´s good to be a little mysterious I think!

  20. Fired Up Cooking SA August 28, 2011 at 18:33 #

    I adore pesto, but my hubby hates it! I think I am going to make a reduced batch, just for me! Really wish I had a ‘dispensa’ to fill with jams, pickles, etc…’re very industrious! 🙂

    • chicaandaluza August 28, 2011 at 19:35 #

      Big Man is not so keen either, but I often sneak it into things…making a smaller batch would be a good idea as you don´t really need all that much of it to make a big difference to taste. It´s a long way to a decent supermarket here, so I try to keep the cupboard well stocked!

  21. forgottenbeast August 29, 2011 at 18:47 #

    I have so much basil right now–I’ve been using it in just about anything I can, and even froze some pesto, but never thought to can it. Great idea! I love pesto pasta in the middle of winter, but certainly am not going to go spend the money on grocery store basil then…

    • chicaandaluza August 29, 2011 at 22:47 #

      I agree, buying basil in winter is like throwing away money! Can highly recommend canning it – it eventually starts to lose its bright green colour and turn darker, but the taste is still amazing.

  22. JamieAnne August 29, 2011 at 22:39 #

    Thank you so much for linking up your plums and your pesto on the canning link up! You’re so awesome!

  23. cityhippyfarmgirl August 29, 2011 at 22:44 #

    That was good timing, as I had planned to make some almond pesto today.

    • chicaandaluza August 29, 2011 at 22:49 #

      I think quite a few people substitue almonds or even walnuts…pine nuts are scarily expensive (at least, they are here). Thanks for coming over to visit!

  24. ....RaeDi August 29, 2011 at 23:16 #

    Wonderful, I love it, you are so handy and not a think goes to waste, I like that. I could use a lot of lessons from you….RaeDi

    • chicaandaluza August 29, 2011 at 23:29 #

      I used to throw so much food away when I lived a minute´s walk aawy from the nearest shop. How my life has changed…and thank goodness!

  25. spicegirlfla August 30, 2011 at 01:48 #

    Your friends are sneaky and smart!! Even tho I can grow basil year round, I still stock up my freezer as it seems I can use pesto in so many dishes! I guess since my pesto is in my freezer my guests don’t realize to look there!!

    • chicaandaluza August 30, 2011 at 10:48 #

      Good plan – hide it away! And you can probably store it in small serving sizes too which is very handy.

  26. Tandy August 31, 2011 at 10:28 #

    at least your friends add to the larder before ‘shopping’ in it. I used some basil flowers to make a basil and vanilla sugar as a gift for a friend 🙂

    • chicaandaluza August 31, 2011 at 13:42 #

      That´s true – they do bring me lovely things! I love the idea of the basil flowers in with the vanilla sugar…will have to leave a few plants to flower and give this a go.

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