Thursday, February 11, 2016

Almond & Basil Pesto


Ever since the horticultural shows in our city got bigger, more herbs and vegetables that were available only in the metros came our way. Earlier, no nursery stocked basil and oregano and other herbs used in Western cooking. I could use these only on my trips to Delhi to visit my sons. It's only been two years that I'm growing basil but there were never enough leaves to make pesto! My three plants are doing well and today I made pesto for the first time with home-grown basil leaves.
For the uninitiated here's a description from Wiki.
Pesto or pesto alla genovese is a sauce originating in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria in Northern Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil, Parmesan cheese and pecorino sardo (cheese made from sheep's milk), all blended with olive oil.

There are several variations online with so many other additions. I checked out some sites to find the easiest ones. I had actually checked almond pesto as I usually have a good stock of almonds and pine nuts are frightfully expensive. So here's the very simple dairy-free recipe which will be enough for 3-4 people.
Ingredients:
11/2 cups basil
40 almonds
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
(I didn't measure the oil as I kept adding it till I felt the consistency was right).

Method: 
Wash the basil leaves and drain them in a colander.
Toast the almonds in a pan till they let out a nutty and fragrant aroma. Set aside.
Blitz the almonds in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients till you get to the consistency you like. I made it almost fine.
This must be the easiest pesto recipe and it was so delicious with the pasta we had for lunch today.
 
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