Six litres of pesto

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.

Basil from my garden. Well short of the quantity Vicki had grown.

Basil from my garden. I may be a tad envious that Vicki had a hedge.

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.

Garlic - an essential ingredient in pesto

Garlic – an essential ingredient in pesto

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.

A bulk batch of pesto, made earlier this year with my dad.

A bulk batch of pesto, made earlier this year with my dad.

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




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