Sunday, October 9, 2016

Homemade pesto for Shoshti

Pesto in a jar
I gave myself a pat on the back. That my friends, on top, is my first jar of homemade pesto sauce.

I wouldn't say the ingredients for this sauce are super easy to get if you live in Delhi, so on the whole I would say this is 6/10 on the difficulty scale. But, the method is easy-peasy so that's a big help. Also, the fact that it can be stored in a refrigerator makes it worth the effort.

Fresh from the garden

A couple of months back, during a visit to my favourite nursery at Noida, I happened to buy a small but perky-looking basil plant. We transplanted her into a biggish pot and she has grown into a lovely, healthy, fragrant shrub. I plucked a big bunch of leaves but even then I find the yield isn't much. Perhaps, next season when she grows larger... :)

The second most important ingredient used for this sauce is pine nuts. Pine nuts, as I found out, are chilgoza. Again, not a commonly available nut in the neighbourhood. Another added disadvantage is that it is super expensive! And then if course is Parmesan. I have found my favourite store for buying Parmesan in the city, but it is not very close to home. I am yet to purchase a fresh block next time I head that side. This jar of pesto thus has that crucial element missing in action yet!

Then there is the garlic and the olive oil that makes this sauce come alive! For about half a jar, I used three loosely packed basil leaves, a handful of pine nuts, 3-4 cloves of garlic, a generous amount of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, and salt. The method is simple: Put everything (except the cheese) together in a food processor and whizz away. You can always adjust the seasoning (and the Parmesan) at a later time.

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