Cashew and Basil Pesto
For a long time I believed that Basil Pesto was over priced and pretty much over rated. How could they charge $8.00 for a 200g tub of Pesto?? I never understood it.. until I looked into the ingredients behind a traditional Basil Pesto. Basil- Expensive unless in season. Garlic - NZ grown garlic is on the pricey side, Parmesan Cheese- Like all cheeses you pay for quality not quantity. Olive Oil- essentially the pure extract of Olives... you think that would be cheap? and Lastly, Pine Nuts.. now I am not a fan of pine nuts personally, mainly because the flavour is not my cup of tea.. and they are through the roof expensive!! really.... you look at a nut like that... It would not be an easy job to de- shell those little bastards. so its all understandable. We need to take into consideration the time and effort put into these foods which make them expensive. But lets just think of our end goal here. We are wanting something that tastes similar to Basil Pesto.. but doesn't incur a charge for just thinking about it.
I must say, I have seen on the shelves at the super market and at our local Saturday Market the alternatives to Basil Pesto. Such as; Coriander Pesto, Artichoke Pesto, Rocket Pesto.. which is great to see that people are using initiative to use what they have in their back yard.
So lets just mix things up a bit.. We now know that Pesto is made up of essentially - something Green, something wet, some cheese, Flavours and seasonings and a nutty texture. With that in mind.. this is my recipe and my take on a Traditional Basil Pesto.
Due to lack of knowledge, time and too many excuses, I don't have a garden thriving with Delicious Herbs.. YET! I am changing this as a garden full of produce saves your pocket hugely and lets face it.. my pockets aren't the deepest.
But, its not what you know, it's who you know right?
Recently a work colleague of mine sent a staff email about the massive amount of Basil her garden is producing. She was giving it away as freely as Oprah gives away cars. So, I snapped it up and thought, Right! what better way to use up a s$%# ton of Basil then to make some Pesto.
Follow this recipe and it will save your dollars, I guarantee!
Cashew and Basil Pesto
This recipe I measure by handfuls. In a food processor - 2 handfuls of cashew nuts (roasted, unsalted) - 1 handful of Parmesan cheese - 2-3 handfuls of basil (if you also have spinach, Kale or Rocket in the fridge needing to be used, chuck it in) 4 cloves of garlic, a decent pinch of pepper and salt and I put a little bit of lemon zest .. just to be that bit extra . Pulse all ingredients in the food processor and slowly poor some good ol’ Olive oil into the party. (I chose Pam’s because it’s just as good as Lupi and a heap cheaper) blend until you have your preferred consistency. (I like my pesto chunky) i like to keep mine in a jar in the fridge, just regularly covering the top with olive oil so it doesn’t go rancid.
Enjoy with crackers, stirred through a pasta sauce or in my case smeared on fresh ciabatta bread.
This recipe fills a 500-600g jar.
nom nom nom!!