Pesto is delicious. It is easy to make. It goes well with tons of things (chicken, pork, pasta, crackers to name a few). And a homemade version will beat the pants off anything you’ll get in a jar. Trust us on this one.
We go heavy on the garlic in this recipe while also adding some dried chillies to give it some kick. The honey offsets the strength of the garlic, as well as a bit of the heat, and leaves you with a nice, thick pesto with a touch of sweetness in the background.
Important side note: don’t skimp on quality in this recipe. The simplicity allows the flavours to really shine through, but the simplicity also means sub-par ingredients will you underwhelmed. This is especially true for the olive oil and the cheese. Do not use crappy olive oil. Ever. Not in this recipe or any other. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to taste like olive oil. We prefer Spanish. And for the love of all that is righteous, pony up for a block of good parmigiano reggiano (and do NOT buy pre-grated: see the 8th commandment here). Comte and gruyere also work well in this recipe – so feel free to substitute or combine, but again, go for quality.
- Basil, 75g
- Pine nuts, 100g
- Garlic, 4 large bulbs, roughly chopped
- Olive oil, 150g
- Dried small chilli peppers, 5 (like bird’s eye or Kashmiri)
- Honey, 1 tbps
- Parmesan, freshly grated, 1 cup
Start by rinsing your basil – throw it all in a strainer and run some water over it, and let it drip for a few minutes. When it is dry (feel free to pat it down with some paper towels) add it all to a food processor (we include the stems – no reason to waste). Then add the garlic, dried chillies, pine nuts, and half of the parmesan. Pulse the mixture until the basil is chopped and everything looks distributed.
Then, add the rest of the cheese and run the food processor on low, and drizzle in the olive oil. When it hits the consistency you want (we like it a little thick, so we don’t blend for too long) add the honey, and give everything another pulse or two to incorporate. That’s it!