There is one thing at the moment that keeps me going and positive in times of headaches (due to weather) and studying (due to, hell, I don’t even know): I have finally booked my vacation for this year! Let me tell you, it was a struggle planning a vacation for two people who want completely different things and have an entirely dissimilar income, and have to attune two work schedules. So I am rather the action kind of vacation girl, wanting to see culture, nature and everything the place has to offer.
My boyfriend wanted a beach. That one was simple. So we settled on Crete (incredible place), but facing the problem of an affordable hotel in a good part of the island in an affordable space of time. Long story short, after evenings of exertion and desperation (on my part mostly) we found it. I’ll be going in September, and I am super excited! Until then, let me show you one of my favourite sauces for every occasion imaginable: Pesto! But not the ‘I just throw everything in the food processor at once’-kind of pesto, no. I mean the real deal. Made with muscles, and sweat, and lots of love. I promise you, you will taste the difference!
- Mortar and pestle
- 2 pots of basil
- 50g of pine nuts
- 100g of genuine parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Sea salt
- Olive oil (a lot)
Start by setting a frying pan to medium/low heat and slowly toast the pine nuts until they give off a nice fragrance and become slightly brown. In the meantime, pick the green basil leaves from the two plants until they are basically just pot and stem (this always makes me kind of sad).
Start by cutting the cloves of garlic into rough chunks, and with some sea salt add the garlic to the mortar. Mash both with the pestle until you have a paste. Now add the pine nuts and mash them as well. As my mortar is by far too small for everything (I really need a larger one) I put this mixture of garlic, salt and pine nuts into a larger vessel.
Continue by cutting the parmesan cheese into rough chunks as well and then mashing it in the mortar until you have smooth cheese ‘flour’. Add it to the larger vessel.
Now for the basil: Add a bunch of leaves and mash them until the leaf structure has disintegrated and you have a green basil paste. Add more leaves and continue. Pay attention to your clothes, this might spatter a bit. Add the basil paste to the mixture.
Now I normally work on the mixture with my pestle again so the single ingredients are well-mixed. If you have a large enough mortar you already have everything you need in the vessel, so you might skip this step.
Add olive oil while stirring with a spoon until you like the texture of the pesto, taste with salt. Fill in an air-tight preserving jar and it will last in your fridge for over a week.
I tell you, you will never eat processed pesto again after you tasted this! It’s a lot of hard work, and normally I’d tell you at this point how easy everything was, which it actually is, but it’ll take you up to about 1.5 hours to make everything. But let me tell you, it’s worth it! Use this pesto for every kind of pasta you want, add it to pasta sauces, add it to pasta salads, or risotto (my recommendation) or use it for your sandwich! The possibilities are endless. Hope you are inspired!