How to make pesto

Video guide to making a classic basil pesto

Claire: Hi, I'm Claire.

Lucy: And I'm Lucy and we're going to show you how to make pesto.

Claire: I love pesto, it's so versatile. You can use lots of different things but today we're going to do the classic basil pesto.

Lucy: Using this lovely fresh basil, but you can use lots of different things. You can use sun-dried tomatoes, you can use rocket, literally anything goes.

Ingredients for classic basil pesto

Claire: Today our ingredients are 100ml of olive oil, 30g of pecorino cheese, 100g of parmesan cheese, some seasoning and some chilli if you're feeling daring.

Lucy: And we've got some lovely fresh basil, there's about 50g of basil here, and we've got some pine nuts, about 40g there, and we've got four garlic cloves that we're going to roughly chop. And also, if we fancy it, we'll taste it later and see if it needs it, but we can either put some juice of a lemon in it or some lemon zest.

Claire: So, first things first...

Toast the pine nuts

Lucy: Let's get cooking. I'm going to toast these lovely pine nuts, I've got about 40g. It's a really easy way to do it, you just dry fry them and they come lightly toasted and it really brings out the flavours, it's really lovely. I'm going to keep my eye on these while you get busy.

Blend together the ingredients for pesto

Claire: Yeah, I'll do the easy bit. I'm going to put the ingredients into the blender. So, pecorino cheese, smells delicious. Parmesan and then some olive oil. Leave a bit for later, just in case.

Lucy: Perfect.

Claire: Shall I chop the garlic?

Lucy: Yeah, roughly chop the garlic. Doesn't matter, doesn't have to be perfect because it's going to be whizzed in the blender. There we go, it's going to be quite a garlicky one.

Claire: Good. Basil?

Lucy: Yeah, thank you. I love basil pesto, it's got a lovely delicate flavour.

Claire: Right, these pine nuts look done now, they're all nicely browned, not a burnt one in sight. I'm going to spoon them carefully into here, because the pan's hot. In they go, nestling alongside all that lovely basil and the cheese and the oil. Perfect. Have you seasoned yet?

Lucy: Lovely, no. Splash of pepper.

Claire: Shall I do a little bit of salt?

Lucy: Yeah, and we can save the chilli for later.

Claire: Yeah, and we can season it afterwards, when we've whizzed it all up, we can see what it tastes like. Can I press the button?

Lucy: You need to get out more.

Claire:  Right, OK, here goes. I'm just going to give it a bit of a stir. Actually, in a minute, we can have a bit of a taste as well, can't we?

Lucy: Yeah.

Taste test your basil pesto

Claire: Beautiful. I reckon just a few more seconds, do you want to do the honours?

Lucy:  Yeah. I'll pulse it.

Claire: Do you reckon that's done?

Lucy: Let's have a look. Lovely.

Claire: Looks gorgeous. It's nice to have a bit of texture, bit of nobbliness with the pine nuts and everything. Shall we have a taste? Let me give you that one.

Lucy: Thank you. It's got a great colour. That is delicious.

Claire: I don't think it needs anything. You could put a bit of lemon in it, if you wanted to freshen it up, but I love that depth of flavour. So shall we put it in a jar?

Lucy: There we go.

Claire: Shall I hold and you scoop? It's just that colour.

Lucy: It's so fresh, isn't it?

Claire: It's lovely when you eat something you've got lots of different colours on your plate as well. I love the contrast of this with...

Lucy: It's so thick. Almost like a puree.

Claire: Get those last bits out. Perfect. Put that over there..

Lucy: And just to make it look gorgeous. That looks and smells fantastic. And that's how you make pesto.

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