Making your own pesto will make you feel awesome – and it will make everything you serve taste fantastic! The recipe is simple, you don’t need a lot of special equipment and you can be very creative with both ingredients and uses. Spread it on toast, stir a spoonful into your soup, jazz up an everyday salad or add an exotic element to scramble eggs. You can of course also use your homemade pesto in our Chicken Pesto Bake!
The basics of Pesto recipes are very similar and although Chef Pieter suggests certain combinations, you can easily use what you have available or experiment with combinations of herbs, cheese and nuts.
Chef Pieter loves harvesting the herbs from the garden at Leopard’s Leap and whatever is growing in abundance usually determines his pesto for the day – and often also some other elements on the menu. When the fragrance of basil welcomes him to the garden, expect Mediterranean flavours on the harvest table, when it is the exotic notes of coriander, you might be enjoying curry for lunch and when the peppery notes of rocket is his inspiration, we might just see a pretty bowl of green flavour with our charcuterie and cheese.
Decide on your greens. Then choose your nuts. As traditional pine nuts are so expensive, also try walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts, cashew nuts, pistachios… Just roast your nuts quickly to release the oils – it really adds to the flavour!
Parmesan is a delicious and essential component of pesto, but can be replaced with other good quality hard cheese such as Pecorino, Asiago or matured cheddar.
Get a few staples from the pantry in the form of olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and something acidic such as lemon or lime and you are sorted!
And in all instances, just combine all the ingredients in a food processor and push the button…
2 cups Greens
1 clove garlic
60 ml citrus juice/vinegar
1/2 cup roasted nut
3/4 cup freshly grated hard cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
1 cup tightly packed with Basil leaves
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup roasted pine nuts
Squeeze of lemon juice
Drizzle of olive oil to ensure your pesto is moist and spreadable
1 clove of grated garlic
2 hands full of fresh coriander
1 cup cashew nuts
½ clove grated garlic
½ green chilli
Squeeze of 2 limes
½ tsp grated palm sugar/brown sugar
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