There are plenty of pesto recipes out there, but we thought we'd show you how to make pesto the “Italian’s way," chopped lovingly by hand – just like your Italian grandmother would make it, if you had one... or perhaps you do! This pesto takes just a few minutes to prepare, and you won’t need a food processor – or the energy consumption, noise and extra washing that goes along with it. You will use your own power and patience while chopping away, creating a chunky sauce with sparks of flavor. Kids will love helping with the mixing process as well.
We replaced the traditional pine nuts for organic sunflower seeds, as they grow locally, add some chunky nutty flavor, provide linoleic acid, Vitamins E and B, and they're also less expensive. Pesto is the number one sauce to have in the fridge, as it is perfect for a quick pasta pesto dish, as a sandwich filling or to give roasted vegetables or soups a kick. With pesto this yummy on standby, you may even convince your kiddos to add a little color to their plain noodles!
1. Gather the ingredients
- A bunch of fresh organic basil
- 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup of organic sunflower seeds
2. Chop the basil
Wash the basil; and if you think it needs a little refreshment, you can give the basil leaves an ice bath before drying and chop (only the leaves!) well.
3. Add extra virgin olive oil
Make sure the olive oil is extra virgin and if it’s organic and local, that’s even better.
4. Chop the garlic
Chop the garlic, 2 cloves are great, but if you want a stronger garlicky taste, don’t shy away, add some more.
5. Mix the basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil
Mix the basil, garlic and olive oil so that they start releasing lovely juices and blending flavors.
6. Add the Parmesan
If you can grate the Parmesan from a chunk from Le Fromagerie down the road, that will be fantastic, otherwise the one from the packet will still add good texture.
7. Chop the cute sunflower seeds
They are scented, and they are soft and easy to cut. Slice them in half.
8. Mix and taste it along
Mix all together: the basil, the olive oil, the Parmesan and the sunflower seeds. Add a hint of lemon or pepper if you’d like, add as much or as little as desired, and choose the best quality ingredients you can.
9. By hand and local
Make this fresh recipe slowly, by hand, and use produce that grows nearby. And be creative!
10. Store it
You can store your pesto in the last pesto jar you bought, inside the fridge. It won’t last very long, so enjoy immediately.
The beautiful ceramic bowls featured here are made by hand by Victoria Watson.
Photos © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitots