Perfect “Pesto”

From Perfect: 68 Essential Recipes for Every Cook’s Repertoire by Felicity Cloake (Fig Tree, 2011)








Makes 200g

2 tbsp pine nuts

A pinch of salt

125g fresh basil leaves (pick off as much of the stalk as you can, as this discolours faster than the leaves)

15g Parmesan, grated

15g pecorino, grated

125ml extra virgin olive oil

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan on a modertae heat, stirring regularly and being careful not to let them burn, and then allow to cool completely. Lightly crush in a pestle and mortar, along with a pinch of salt.

Add the basil leaves a few at a time, and, working as quickly as possible, pund them into the mixture until you have a thickish paste.

Work in the cheesse, then gradually incorporate the oil, reserving a little for the top.

Spoon the pesto into a jar, and cover the top with oil. Refrigerate until use.


Verdict: very easy to make at home and store in the fridge until required. The book, as Cloake’s column does, explains in just the right amount of detail exactly why the ingredients and method have been chosen.

Read more of Cloake’s ‘Perfect’ recipes on the Guardian website.

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