Basil pesto

Basil pesto is an absoulte staple in our freezer.  It's quick to make, can be frozen in small portions (in an icecube tray) and is SO much better than bottled pesto from the supermarket.

There are so many uses for basil pesto, here are some of my favourites:

  • My daughters love pasta with pesto for a quick and simple dinner.  I defrost 1 icecube of pesto per child, and add 2 teasp of water per icecube to dilute it a little (it coats the pasta more easily when it is diluted).  Cook any type of pasta till al dente, drain well then stir through the pesto.

  • Make pasta with pesto and add some cooked chicken (you can use a barbequed chicken if you like) for extra flavour and protein.

  • Add pesto to mashed potato for a tasty food for your baby or toddler

  • Bake a potato, cut open and place a spoonful of pesto, salt & pepper and grated cheese on top

  • Add to sandwiches, burgers, toasted paninis etc

  • Pan-fry salmon fillets then smear some pesto over the top before serving

  • Combine some pesto with thickened cream, warm it in a small saucepan, and serve with pan-fried  chicken.  And it's great with veal schnitzels too.

Basil pesto

I normally double or triple the quantities shown here and make A LOT of pesto in one go.

1 cup basil leaves, well packed
40g (1.5 oz) pine nuts
1 small clove garlic, crushed (optional)
approx 4 tablesp (80ml) olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Place basil and pine nuts in a food processor and press "on" to start to blitz.  As the motor is running, gradually pour the oil down the funnel.  Add parmesan cheese and blitz again.

You may need to scrap down the sides with a spatula and blitz briefly again till all is well chopped and combined.

Spoon the pesto into icecube trays.

Freeze:  Place icecube trays in the freezer.  Once the pesto is frozen, transfer the cubes to a ziplock bag and return to the freezer.  If you have trouble getting the pesto out of the tray, stand the icecube tray in a sink of warm water for 10 seconds.

Defrost: in the fridge or on the kitchen bench.  If you defrost in the microwave be careful that the cheese doesn't melt/cook.

Serve: see serving ideas above

Makes: approx 10 icecubes