Pesto = stuff of the gods

Pesto being made with a mortar and pestlePesto. Is there anything as good, as rich, as satisfying? Pesto is the stuff of the gods, it is. And I can make it myself! Wait – I just did make it myself!

My basil plant was starting to flower. I needed to nip those buds off, but just one touch of the plant released the heavenly aroma that sparked a powerful desire for pesto. The plant wasn’t huge and I only have the one, so if I was going to make it, it would be small batch. That was okay, much safer than making (and therefore eating) a huge amount. Plus I didn’t have all the traditional ingredients, so I made it the way I almost always do: by considering the “real” recipe to be suggestion, not direction.

But hey – with pesto it’s not even possible to go wrong. Every ingredient is wonderful. Too much of one, not enough of another? No biggie!

Note: I read somewhere that using a mortar and pestle makes a better pesto than using a blender. Don’t know if that’s true but I can’t stand seeing even a teensy bit of finished product stuck under a blender blade instead of in my mouth. When it comes to foods of the gods, I’m not willing to give up even that much. And yes, I scrape the bowl and lick the pestle, too.

My simple recipe for a small batch of pesto

  • A packed cup’s worth of fresh basil leaves, torn into little pieces
  • A third cup or so of raw nuts (pine nuts are traditional, I only had walnuts and they worked just fine)
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil, as much as is needed to get a nice consistency
  • A scant tablespoon of lemon juice (I didn’t have any so I used lime juice and that worked fine)
  • A good-sized clove of garlic, mashed
  • Grated parmesan cheese to taste
  1. Smash the nuts up real well so there aren’t any large chunks anymore
  2. Add some olive oil, the lemon juice, and the garlic & mix to a nice paste
  3. Add the basil and work it into the paste. It’s going to take a bit of time but you should taste test it along the way because why not
  4. Add more olive oil if you want it gooier and keep working the paste till it’s really pasty
  5. When you are satisfied with the consistency, add some parmesan and mash it up into the paste with the pestle. I personally prefer only a few tablespoons but you do what you do.

Pesto is great on pasta, of course, but I love it even more spread on a slice of sourdough bread. Yum yum, I could gobble up all the pesto at once that way, but I try hard not to. Pesto might be the stuff of the gods, but ahem… did I mention how rich it is? Translation: DANGER! ABUNDANT CALORIES!

But also, pesto is good for you. Lotsa antioxidants, unsaturated fats that are heart-friendly, and because it’s so rich pesto takes longer to digest and thus you don’t feel the need to eat other less godly stuff.

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About lifstrand

Lif Strand began writing fiction when she was a kid. Nobody read her stories. A former Arabian horse breeder and endurance racer, then reporter and freelance white paper writer, Lif lives in a straw bale house off-the-grid and writes fiction once more--or at least whenever she’s not scooping horse poop, taking photos, or playing with fabric art.

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