Basic Pesto and Variations

Basic Pesto is a mixture of herbs, garlic, nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil and is used as a salad dressing or sauce for many dishes.

My family likes to use pesto as a pasta dressing when we serve pasta as a starter and you don't want it to be too heavy. Always use extra virgin olive oil—that is oil derived from the first pressing of the olives. The taste is far superior and the resulting dish is only as good as the ingredients that you put in. Submitted by David McCarthy, Australia

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of fresh herbs (See Variations below.)
  • 2 cloves of garlic.
  • 1/4 cup of complimentary nuts (See Variations below)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Method

Remove leaves from the herb bunch to make 3 cups of loosely packed leaves. Place leaves in a food processor or blender together with the garlic, nuts and Parmesan.

Add a couple of spoonfuls of Olive oil and using the pulse action of the processor mix the ingredients until they are finely chopped -not liquidized.

If you feel the mixture has become too dry add another tsp of oil. Add the remaining extra virgin Olive oil with the processor running and process until a paste is formed.

Refrigerate your finished basic pesto in an airtight container until ready for use.

Variations

The most suitable nut to go with each ingredient is in brackets beside the ingredient:

  • Basil (Pine nuts)
  • Coriander (Unsalted roasted peanuts)
  • Mint (Cashew nuts)
  • Rocket (Pine nuts)

A nut free pesto is known as a concasse. The best concasses to make for people with a nut allergy are:

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