Gabriela's pesto – two ingredients

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I do not remember how many years I have been making this for my daughter but I do remember how it came about.  We were having a meal in an Italian restaurant and my daughter commented how much she loved the smell of the pesto bread which wafted past our table.   Her remark triggered the thought how could I make pesto without cheese or nuts?  the answer was simple – instead of trying to substitute why not keep flavours pure using only the basil and olive oil.

It’s not pesto but believe it or not it smells strongly like pesto and it taste very pesto-ish.  This has become our family pesto and I must say we do not miss the nuts and cheese. It’s far superior to anything bought in jars.

My strong recommendation is to use the plain olive oil when whizzing it in a food mill or food processor because the extra virgin olive oil flavour is too strong and overpowers the basil.  You can top up the oil at the end with extra virgin for a little flavour.  When the sauce is done it does not smell of very much but as soon as it hits hot food the fragrance of the basil is released.

I often use this basil oil tossed in warm potatoes with green beans, makes a good side dish.

Gabriela's pesto 1

Gabriela’s Pesto

I’m giving the amounts as guide, this is the sort of thing I go by looks.

  • 75 g / 1 cup compacted fresh basil ( 3 x 25 g packs)
  • 60-75ml / 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (add more if needed)

Whiz it in the foodmill or processor until blended and use on your favourite food.  Although it will keep in the fridge for a few days (but will discolour) this is at its peak on the day it is made.