I have been looking for a way to perfect my very own pesto recipe ever since I went out for a birthday dinner at the vegetarian restaurant Original Sin and promptly fell in love with their pesto pasta there, after which I steadily cultivated an obsession with pesto.
Photography & Styling by myself
Recipe adapted from Clean Eating Goddess
I have been looking for a way to perfect my very own pesto recipe ever since I went out for a birthday dinner at the vegetarian restaurant Original Sin and promptly fell in love with their pesto pasta there, after which I steadily cultivated an obsession with pesto. Since then I have attempted numerous recipes and different variations of the dish served both over pasta and pizza, while failing to get the cheesy and aromatic basil blend of texture and taste I remembered so fondly. It was only one day, when I had thoroughly given up on making my own from scratch, that I finally purchased some store-bought pesto fresh from Cold Storage with an attached ingredient list. Consuming and evaluating this version of pesto proved to be exceedingly insightful, as after the experience, a steady influx of ideas for my perfect pesto poured in, and I mustered the determination to attempt it once more with help from Clean Eating Goddess, my immediate go-to for all healthy western recipes.
With the prepped list of pesto ingredients at hand, I was careful to add them bit by bit into the blender, doing taste tests every so often to adjust the seasoning to the exact taste and texture I wanted. My perfected pesto was finally achieved with a tweak to the olive oil and Parmesan cheese amounts. I have realized these two ingredients play a huge part in your pesto’s texture, so to achieve pesto that sits just right in your mouth, I advise tasting between table spoonfuls of Parmesan cheese and olive oil blended in as you create it along the way.
Despite all the effort this recipe sounds like it requires, it is actually one of the simplest pasta dishes to make in terms of execution, once you get the ingredient amounts right. Try your hand at this classic dish, and you might be amazed at the results. Bon appetit!
PASTA AND TOPPINGS
4 cups cherry tomatoes (rinsed)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp dried oregano
pinch of chilli flakes
3 tbsp or 50g pine nuts
500g fusilli, or pasta of choice
salt and pepper
90g fresh basil leaves (rinsed)
50g toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
5 tbsp Parmesan cheese (add 1 tbsp more or less based on your preference)
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
- In a pan, coat cherry tomatoes with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, oregano, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Pop into the oven for about 50 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked and have burst.
- While the tomatoes are in the oven, toast your pine nuts for the pesto in a dry saucepan of low-medium heat until the oils begin to release. Beware of burning.
- Prepare your pesto by adding fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese to a blender. Pulse on low speed until a paste begins to form. Adjust seasonings and ingredient amounts according to taste.
- Boil your pasta according to instructions on the box in heavily salted water, or until al dente. Drain and place the pasta back into the pot, then slowly add 3/4 of the pesto and half of the tomatoes. Break into the tomatoes to release the juices. Toss on low heat.
- Serve in bowl with one or two spoonfuls of pesto on top, the rest of the tomatoes, and additional pine nuts. Enjoy.