Pesto is a magical ingredient and a staple in my kitchen; it can be used as a dip or a sauce in pastas and salads. I used to buy pesto from the store until I discovered the magic of food processors. I only have a little handheld processor, but it is the perfect size for making dips and sauces. If you don't want to commit to a giant food processor, I highly recommend getting a small inexpensive one to keep in the pantry.
When I started experimenting with different pestos I settled on a recipe that created a lovely flavour and texture. I also included a few extra ingredients—spinach and sun-dried tomatoes—to give the pesto more nutrients because what is life without some sneaky nutrients?
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juice
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups (about 3 oz) baby spinach leaves
- 2/3 cup (about 1 oz) fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup fresh parmesan or romano cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes
- salt to taste (no more than 1/2 a tsp)
- Add oil, lemon juice, garlic and basil leaves to a food processor and pulse about 8 times until the mixture is relatively blended and the basil is chopped into rough pieces.
- Add the baby spinach leaves and pulse until puréed.
- Add the pine nuts, grated cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes individually pulsing slightly between each ingredient to combine the pesto.
- Once the pesto is the desired texture put it in a jar in the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for up to three days.
- You can also freeze the pesto by putting spoonfuls in ice-cube trays and freezing them, then removing the cubes of pesto as you need them. (I like to do this because I usually cannot finish the entire recipe in three days.)
- TIP: Try mixing the pesto with Greek yoghurt (1 part pesto to 3 parts yoghurt) for a really delicious dip.
Makes about 1.5 cups of PERFECT pesto!