In 2009 I worked in a pub in Adelaide with Vicki the Greek Goddess. Vicki was loud, outrageous and a hell of a lot of fun. She was also an amazing gardener.
One day Vicki was complaining about all the gardening she had to do, including pruning the basil, which she described as a hedge. I didn’t believe her about the hedge of basil, but nevertheless my mind jumped straight to pesto.
The next day Vicki showed up to work with a large bag full of basil cuttings for me. Amazing! Based on my enthusiasm she offered to bring in more. This turned out to be a box and a garbage bag full. Wow!
All this basil meant I had to learn how to make pesto and fast. Pesto itself , I found out, is very easy to make. The standard ingredients are basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and salt; and all you do is put everything in a blender and press go.
Pesto may be easy, however, with the ridiculous quantity of basil I had to turn into pesto things weren’t quite so simple.
This was the first time I had made pesto and so I wanted to follow the recipe. I was, however, a broke uni student at the time and buying the quantity of pinenuts and olive oil I needed was painful to my weekly budget.
Also, given the quantity of pesto I was making, it was impractical to use the small blender I owned and so instead I used a stick blender. This is an important lesson – stick blenders overheat and die, quickly. Adding to the cost of the pesto was the purchase of a second replacement stick blender, which was necessary as the other ones failure was mid pesto making.
It may have cost a lot, but I ended up with at least six litres of delicious amazing pesto. I gave some to Vicki and to friends and family. I froze the rest in batches, which lasted me close to three years.
Ingredients: Basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, parmesan and salt
Equipment (for non-ridiculous quantities): blender
1. Remove basil leaves from stems
2. Place everything in a blender and press go.
Love pesto? read about making vegan pesto