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.
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.