Kids are funny about food. The things that they eat and the things that they don’t and sometimes totally defying expectations. At the tender age of two, my son decided that he loved pesto and since then, that, together with olive oil and za’atar, has been his dip of choice.
We’re blessed with a decent outdoor space and, come the warm weather each year, I go to the nursery to pick up some new Basil plants to put into one of my pots on the balcony. I generally get a reasonable crop and together, we pick and make a rudimentary but delicious sauce which we use on pasta, chicken and as a dip for vegetables.
My version is simple and cheap – I don’t throw in pine nuts and keep it non-dairy – very basic.
With the onset of winter, I have to rely on other sources for basil and yesteday I happened to be at the shuk and had a yearning. I went to my usual herb guy and bought a big bunch for 4 shekels – a little more than a dollar.
I threw some spaghetti into a pan and pulled out the food processor – by the time it was cooked al dente, the kitchen was filled with the wonderful aroma of freshly made pesto, a dollop of which was then added to the pasta for dinner. It really is that quick and simple to make – 10 minutes from start to finish.
Large bunch of basil
3 garlic cloves (you can play with that depending on your taste)
1/2 tsp salt
Wash and dry the basil – use a salad spinner if you have one. If you don’t then use a clean tea towel and make a note to buy a salad spinner asap.
Separate the leaves from the stalks (if you have a use for the stalks let me know!) and throw them into a food processor (a stick blender does the job too but it takes longer, particularly for large quantities) – you might to do this in batches as it’s quite bulky but blitzes down small.
Add the garlic and salt. Start the processor and add olive oil until the texture is as thick or runny as you like. Taste and adjust the salt.
The result will be a bright green but will go darker as it is exposed to air – store leftovers in a glass jar under a few drops of oil to keep it looking good and give it a stir before serving next day.