Homemade Pesto


Herbs are a bit of a nightmare if you don’t grow them yourself. I can see that. I do try to use dried herbs as much as possible as they are cheaper but sometimes the real thing is just so much better. One herb I always seem to buy fresh is Basil, it just works so well as a pick-me-up for any italian style dishes. Unfortunately it also seems to last about one hour from opening the packet until the leaves are all brown and mushy.

Pesto2This is why, whenever I have a bit of basil left over, I make some home-made pesto. It can be the tiniest bit in the world but pesto goes pretty far and although making it yourself might seem a faff, it uses up any old basil that would have gone to waste and it almost preserves it so you can get its flavour in to future dishes. Also, although I love sacla as much as the next guy, homemade does taste so much better than the stuff you get from the supermarket.

Pesto3Sorry the measurements aren’t particularly specific for this one. This is because it is really down to personal preference. Here I have gone simple, only using basil and pine nuts but often I use walnuts too or I add a couple of handfuls of rocket if I have any left overs. Another great tip is to add some roasted courgette, this gives great flavour and makes for a silkier more voluptuous pasta sauce.

Homemade Pesto

  • As little or as much Basil as you have.
  • Pine nuts
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice


How to Make it…

  • I made mine without any sort of blender, this is pretty time consuming but not as hard as it sounds. Finely chop Basil and Pine nuts (as small as you can make them) and then add to a bowl and add the parmesan and the oil an lemon and stir. Season to taste.
  • Or put everything in the blender and pulse.
  • I used 3/4 of a packet of basil, a dessert spoonful of pine nuts and a handful of grated parmesan, a add a good squeeze of lemon and enough oil to make it the right consistency. As I say, however, it is entirely up to you taste it and see what it needs in your opinion.
  • Pop in a jar and use within a week-10 days.

Cost rating: *** I used 3/4 of a packet of basil costing 80p, 1/10 of a block of parmesan costing £2.60, 1/10 of a pack of pine nuts costing £2.75, 1/6 of a lemon costing 36p, (and 1/10 of a pack of spaghetti costing 95p). Total cost for dinner: £1.29.

Washing up rating: ** I used a knife, a chopping board, a small bowl, a pan, tongs and a bowl and cutlery.