Hasn’t this quarantine time turned us all into gardeners and chefs? I have thyme, mint, basil, rosemary, arugula, lavender, jasmine, and sunflowers blooming in my garden right now. These (minus the flowers) are ingredients I love to use in my cooking, and have loved coming up with my own ways on how to use them.
This recipe was inspired by a lovely Instagram and nutrition blogger Somi Igbene. Somi posts beautiful food pictures on her feed, and I saw an all green bowl of pesto, peas and salad and wanted to make that for myself.
I use my own blog for making my recipes later on, did you know that? I also use it as a valuable resource to come back and continue to hold myself accountable for the social justice work we have a duty to continue. Last recipe, I spoke about Breonna Taylor and today I would like to speak about Elijah McClain. The footage and words are very distressing, but Elijah was walking home and brutally murdered at the hands of police officers, an all too familiar story these days. We must continue to hold law enforcement accountable, and to this day his killers are still walking free. Although his case is over a year old, it should not go forgotten. There are a number of ways you can help his case, such as calling these numbers with the helpful script in the page, or donating to the GoFundMe arranged by his mother while he was still on life support and which now goes to a foundation in his name. There are more ways to help listed here. We must also remember, for the names that we say there are hundreds more incarcerated or killed at the hands of police or racial violence worldwide.
Homemade pesto is so so simple and so delicious. I am not going to write a proper recipe for this — so pay attention! Get your food processor ready…
- First step, pull a couple of large handfuls of basil leaves from your plant. You want to encourage growth so start from the top down. I trim off the leftover stem at the top where there are no more leaves, right at a “joint”. Give them a rinse and place them into the food processor.
- Next, toast some pine nuts over medium heat, just until they turn a toasty warm colour. You don’t want them to be too cooked, but the process of toasting them brings out that nutty flavour by encouraging the release of oil. Once a bit browned, toss those into the food processor as well.
- Grate some parmesan cheese into the food processor. Your choice as to how much, but I like the top of my basil leaves to be healthily coated in cheese.
- Press one or two garlic cloves into the mix.
- Pour a hearty amount of olive oil over the mix. Secure your lid, and give it a good blend. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- My secret? If I don’t have enough basil leaves, or if I just don’t want to use them all up, I add a handful of spinach to the mix. It helps bulk up the pesto without changing too much of the flavour. If the mix you’re making looks a bit weak, then stop processing, and add spinach until it reaches the amount and consistency you would like. If you do add spinach, you may also add some more garlic, parmesan and olive oil to keep the consistency the same. And make sure you have plenty of pine nuts regardless!
Pesto goes well on pasta, on pizza, on anything, and people will be well impressed to know that YOU made this with the basil that’s growing just right there on your windowsill! Can you believe?!
If you have questions please don’t hesitate to reach out, but as always I encourage you to experiment and make this YOURS. Pesto is only those ingredients: basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan. (Technically, this is pesto alla genovese – pesto is a generic term for anything that is made by pounding and across Italy there are many variations on pesto!)
Serves great with a green variety – courgette, petit pois, salad, your choice!