One of the things that grows really well in our garden is basil.
Basil is one of my favorite herbs as it is so versatile. I use it in salads, stir fries, soups, vegetable fritters, fritattas, dips, spreads, marinades, Asian style food as well as the usual Italian style dishes.
Of course when you get a glut of it like we have right now, I like to make pesto and freeze it to use throughout the year.
A traditional pesto has quite a high fat content due to the cheese, nuts and olive oil. This version has less cheese and nuts and replaces most of the oil with vegetable stock. Okay, so it is not quite as fantastic as the original pesto if you eat it off the spoon, however when used in cooking you really cannot tell the difference
- 2 large bunches of basil, leaves picked (about 8 cups in total), washed and drained well to remove any excess water
- 2-4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons (40g) of a good parmesan cheese, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup cashews or pinenuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup cold vegetable stock (I used about ½ of a Massel vegetable stock cube dissolved in ½ cup water)
- Place basil, garlic, cheese and cashews in a food processor and blitz until everything is finely chopped.
- Add oil and blitz again for 20-30 seconds, then slowly add the vegetable stock down the shute with the machine still running.
- Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds until really well combined and the pesto is quite smooth.
- Plop into ice cube trays and freeze for 12 hours. Remove from trays, place in a plastic bag for easy access and return to the freezer
- This batch made 20 pesto ice blocks. Store in freezer for about 6 months
Shaun our ‘sheep’ watches over the basil as it grows!