Fragrant 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.

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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, a sandwich spread or as a pizza base.

Pesto is basically made up of basil, nuts, cheese, garlic and oil.  Vegans however can opt not to use cheese.

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Basil Pesto


Ingredients

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

Directions

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

The easy way

Pulverize everything in the blender or food processor, adding the oil in gradually.  Patience is required though, for everything to come together to the right consistency.

The not-so-easy way

Roll the basil (as you would sukuma wiki) and shred finely 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. In a bowl, stir gently the chopped basil, the pounded garlic and nuts, and half the grated cheese, while adding oil to bind the mixture.  Season to your taste, and add the remaining cheese.  Keep adding oil until you are happy with the consistency and taste.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver.

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