Basil Pesto

Mambo? Was it a good week? What are you looking forward to this weekend? Do certain tastes transport you to a place? I think it is a very individual experience. For me, black tea with fresh lime always reminds me of South Coast and pesto transports me to the beaches of Maputo.



If there is basil in the fresh produce section of a supermarket or at a greengrocer’s, I am the weirdo who has grabbed a bunch and is inhaling it just for the sheer pleasure of it.

What to do with this fragrant fresh herb though?

One could use it in salads, thrown over a pizza just before serving, knead it into pizza dough. My favourite way though is as spaghetti pesto, as a sandwich spread or as a pizza base.

Pesto is basically made up of basil, pine nuts, Romano cheese, garlic and oil. Vegans however can opt not to use cheese. Variations that work on this side of the world are cashews for pine nuts and gouda or parmesan for pecorino romano.

Basil Pesto


  • 2 cups or bunches of basil
  • 1/3 cup of gouda cheese
  • 1/4 cup of cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt to taste


There are two ways to doing this: the easy way and the not-so-easy way.

The easy way

Pulverize everything in the blender except the oil. With the processor running, add the oil in gradually until incorporated. Scrape the bowl occasionally and taste for salt. Process until it comes together.

The not-so-easy way

Roll the basil (as you would sukuma wiki) and shred with a sharp knife. Grate the cheese.

Pound the garlic with a pinch of salt in the pestle and mortar. Add the nuts to the mixture and keep pounding. Next add the shredded basil into the mortar. Pound away.

Finally add the grated cheese to the mortar and keep pounding, while adding oil to bind the mixture. Season to your taste. Keep adding oil until you are happy with the consistency and taste.

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