Easy Purple Basil Pesto with Pine nuts and Parmesan

Easy Purple Basil Pesto with Pine nuts and Parmesan

Purple is my favourite colour. When I got this lovely bunch of purple basil, whom else would I turn to for the recipe for Pesto, but Jamie Oliver. I have quite a few of his cookbooks, but I referred this recipe online.I’ve always found Jamie Oliver’s recipes straightforward and easy to make, and if you follow his advice, the resulting dish has to be ‘delish’! The original recipe uses green basil leaves, and I substituted them with purple for the Pesto of Purple Basil.

I used a nice Parmesan from my hoarded goodies, extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts which my daughter had got for me the last time she came to India. I’m always happy when I have all the exact ingredients listed in a recipe, rather than having to substitute something not readily available here. And Bangalore is the new Eden, where you can get anything: there is this amazing direct farm supply from First Agro Farms that have recently started delivering fresh greens and herbs to my doorstep, and thats how I got this purple basil in the first place. I do hope they are here to stay, and not disappear one day like the online veggie supplier who was delivering veggies and lovely fresh greens and herbs for more than 2 years, but which, sadly, closed shop a couple of months ago.

I loved the colour of the fresh purple basil leaves. Rather disappointingly,the Pesto of Purple Basil turned out to be more green than purple, though I used only purple basil leaves, but the taste is absolutely amazing.

Jamie advises that the best flavours of the basil and garlic and parmesan and olive oil and all the rest are brought out by pounding the ingredients using a mortar and pestle. I do have a lovely large mortar and pestle, wooden, beautifully carved and which I bought in a market in Zambia during one of my visits there. But making pesto in a wooden mortar didn’t appeal to me- most of the oil would have gone into the wood instead of into my pesto. So I’ve used a food processor for this recipe. I need to invest in a good stone or marble mortar and pestle.

The methodology given below for the Pesto of Purple Basil is from Jamie Oliver’s recipe though I’ve adapted the quantities of Ingredients.

You may want to factor in a little extra for tasting. Jamie advises tasting the pesto at each step. With 2 loosely packed cups of basil, the pesto had come down to a small bowlful, and my periodic tasting made quite a bit of depletion in the volumes! It was totally yum!

As I have said in the notes below Some recipes for pesto advise not adding the cheese to the pesto if you are going to freeze it and not use it immediately, but to add the cheese later on when ready to use. I have not tried freezing my homemade pesto as it gets used up pretty fast, and I don’t make large quantities anyway, so I’m not too sure whether the cheese should be added or not, in case the pesto is to be frozen.

Have you tried my recipe for Basil oil? Or for Fennel Frond Pesto?

Homemade Basil Oil

Aromatic Homemade Basil Oil
Aromatic Basil Oil

Easy Fennel Frond Pesto  with Basil Oil

Fennel Frond Pesto
Fennel Frond Pesto

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Pesto of Purple Basil, Pinenuts & Parmesan Yum
Easy and quick Pesto of Purple Basil, Pine nuts & Parmesan, following Jamie Olivers recipe for Pesto. Green basil may be used instead of purple. Delicious!
Easy and quick Pesto of Purple Basil, Pine nuts & Parmesan, following Jamie Olivers recipe for Pesto. Green basil may be used instead of purple. Delicious!
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
cup
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
cup
Ingredients
Easy and quick Pesto of Purple Basil, Pine nuts & Parmesan, following Jamie Olivers recipe for Pesto. Green basil may be used instead of purple. Delicious!
Instructions
Prepare the ingredients for Pesto
  1. Toast the pinenuts very lightly, ie heat the pan well and then toast (fry it dry, without oil) for a few seconds, so that the pine nuts don't start turning brown and nutty, but remain fresh with just that hint of fragrance which is going to add flavour to the pesto.i
  2. Pinch the leaves off the stems of basil, and discard the stems.
To make Purple Basil Pesto
  1. Place the garlic in the food processor, sprinkle salt, add the basil leaves, and run the processor on pulse a couple of times, till the basil is crushed. You want the pesto to be a little coarse, not a smooth puree.
  2. Add the pine nuts and again run the processor, about 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl. Add some of the grated Parmesan, stir it into the basil. Add a little of the olive oil, stir again. Add enough oil to give the mixture an oozy consistency, as Jamie says.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. I add the salt pinch by pinch as Im terrified of over-salting the pesto. Add more of the cheese and oil and stir, till you get the consistency that you like.
  5. Use in making pasta or spread on some nice bread for a sandwich, or in wraps or even in quesadillas. Or mix into a soft cheese and sprinkle on salads.
Recipe Notes

Note: Some recipes for pesto advise not adding the cheese to the pesto if you are going to freeze it and not use it immediately, but to add the cheese later on when ready to use. I have not tried freezing my homemade pesto as it gets used up pretty fast, and I don't make large quantities anyway, so I'm not too sure whether the cheese should be added or not, in case the pesto is to be frozen.

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