Basil pesto and 5 variations

Basil pestoPesto is one of the easiest things to make and can help you make a delicious meal even when you don’t feel like cooking much. The jars in shops labelled as pesto are nothing like the homemade version. Once you make it, you hardly go back.

a bunch of fresh basil
a handful of pine seeds (about 50 g)
you can also use almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pistachios if you cannot find pine seeds
1 dl extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbs grated Parmesan
1 clove garlic – roughly cut
salt and pepper

Mix all using a stick mixer – just don’t blend it too finely, it is better to leave some roughness to it, it is nice to have some crunchy texture to bite on. Don’t worry too much about exact measurements, if it is too thick, add more oil or a bit of lemon juice.

TIP: Try substituting basil with a bunch of pea shoots. It’s delicious.

What else do you need to make this into a delicious dinner? A bag of pasta cooked al dente. Mix your pesto into your freshly cooked pasta and serve.

Creamy variation

Adding a bit of whipping cream into your pesto, you will get a milder and also very delicious version.

Cherry tomato variation

A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved and sauteed in a pan with a bit of olive oil – wait until the skin loosens a bit, they get a sweeter taste. Add them to your pesto pasta.

Tomato sauce variation

pestotomatoMake your own basic tomato sauce, add it to your pasta with homemade pesto and you will be nicely surprised. I love this combo.

If you don’t have all the ingredients for the classic pesto, try making a Basil oil with pepper. Blend a bunch of basil with extra virgin oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Combine with tomato sauce or even use on pizzas.

Green beans variation

Steam some green beans and add them to the pesto pasta. You can also use the frozen ones, just do not steam them for too long.

Pesto in a soup

1 chopped onion
olive oil
6 medium size potatoes – cubed
1 cube vegetable stock (optional)
1 – 1,5 l water (can be preboiled in an electric kettle)
2 dl cream
400 g frozen peas

In a biggish pot, heat the oil and saute the onion until translucent, add the potatoes, stir a minute, add the water (and stock cube). Bring to boil and then simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Add the peas and cook for a few minutes, add the cream, salt, cook for about five minutes and turn off. Add the pesto and serve with a toast. You can garnish it with parmesan shavings.