Sunday, 30 March 2014

Quick Cooking : Homemade Basil Pesto (ala my own version)

The finished product. Spinach Fettuccine tossed in basil pesto with poached egg and chicken. 

Wow. I can't remember the last time I blog about my cooking.

Well, I've been having "mental cooking blocks" for the last few months. Just couldn't get inspired.

So just the other day I was at Ben's Supermarket and I saw a pack of Thai Sweet Basil Leaves that I decided to make homemade basil pesto for my pasta dressing. And just like that, I grabbed a few key ingredients, went home and started whacking the pesto out; even though it was very late at night.

Basil pesto is usually used as a sauce/dressing for pastas and a great vegetarian dish for vegans and for the health conscious. I've made this pesto before but I've changed a few ingredients to make it my own. One of the ingredients is Tahini but it's incredibly pricey here; so I used a bit of sesame oil instead and added walnuts for more chunky, creamy texture.

So basically, here are ingredients I used for my own version of Basil Pesto.

Do take note, that I don't exactly measure my ingredients as I go by feel most of the time.

1. 100mg Fresh Thai Sweet Basil Leaves (Any variant of basil will do. Thai has a bit more of an aroma kick)
2. Few cloves of garlic (About a good 5-7)
3. A handful of toasted pine nuts
4. A handful of walnuts (or more if you prefer a more creamy texture)
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (accordingly)
6. Sesame Oil (alternative to tahini. About 1-2 table spoons)
7. Dash of grated cheese (optional)
8. Salt & Pepper to taste

Making this dish is practically easy and you just need a food processor. I use a manual hand-wind food processor as I have a bit more control over the texture consistency of the pesto.

Make sure your basil leaves are washed, cleaned and spin-dried with minimal water residue.

Next up, blend up the garlic, walnuts and toasted pine nuts first until you get .......

to a somewhat chunky mix like so.

Then add on the basil leaves into the mix with the sesame oil and olive oil and blend. Gradually add the leaves and olive oil periodically after every spin.

The result would be something like this. You can go "creamier" by adding in the cheese, more walnuts and oilve oil to get a semi smooth texture of the pesto which I did. I always prefer to have a bit more bite to my pasta dressing.

The result would be something more golden in colour compared to the very green pesto you see in the supermarkets. Once done, keep the pesto refrigerated and it would last no more than a week. 

As you can see, I used my pesto to go with my favourite Spinach Fettuccine and topped it over with a poached egg and chicken. An excellent healthy choice for those "lazy" to cook like me or just couldn't find time to whip out something too grandeur. 

And now, this blogger is now attempting to venture into some baking. That is if he still has the "balls" to take out the oven that is still sitting inside the box!

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