I have included the recipe below, I eventually opted for Jamie Oliver's version. Jamie's method was a little vague, along with my daggy photos, are my comments and method. My pesto didn't turn out as bright green and moist looking as Jamie's, but it was still pretty damn good.
• ½ a clove of garlic, chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
• a handful of pine nuts, very lightly toasted
• a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• extra virgin olive oil
• a small squeeze of lemon juice
MAKES ONE JAR (I doubled it)
Wash the basil. I found all manner of critters in mine, and whilst they had a meaty, flavorsome note to the palate, I think they are better left out. I also spun the leaves in a salad spinner.
Jamie says, "the really good pestos I’ve tasted in Italy just have them very lightly toasted, to give a creaminess rather than a nuttiness." ...so I did as he said. I had to watch pretty closely, I nearly burnt them.Jamie says:" Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar, or pulse in a food processor". I used a food processor. Add the pine nuts to the mixture. My mixture turned quite a bilious green. Maybe because it is late in the season for basil?
Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil . Now Jamie says "You need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency." BUT I found that I had to add an awful lot of olive oil. It seemed like a couple of cupfuls...I kid you not. The end result was not as oozy looking as Jamie's, but I just couldn't bear myself to put in ANOTHER cup of olive oil!
Jamie says: Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it’s not essential. Try it with and without and see which you prefer. Personally, I don't get the tasting. After a couple of tastes they all merge, and I really don't know what I am supposed to be tasting for.
I use my lovely red jam funnel to fill my glass jars. I was trying to be all "Martha" and sourced some labels to stick on the jars from here, but they didn't turn out very well. As you can see, the colour of my pesto isn't the same as in the shops. I couldn't find a pen, or a pencil, so ended up writing 'pesto' is daggy texta. It took me ages to wash the dishes. (we don't have a dishwasher) Anyhoo, my daughter lurved the pesto, which is all that matters, but is it just me...is all this effort simply too much effort?