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JoziStyle is a celebration of Jozi as we explore what to eat, where to go, and who to know in Johannesburg. You can follow JoziStyle on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram– and you can listen to JoziStyle on Radio Today every Friday at 1 PM!

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This week we embark on another flavorful journey through the culinary wonderland of pesto!

Believe it or not, but pesto is not just for summer when it is so versatile for adding flavour to winter dishes. Whether homemade or store-bought, pesto is a pantry essential that knows no season. I’ve often joked that I could eat it with a spoon, and truth be told, I often do! There’s something about that vibrant burst of pesto, that nutty richness of pine nuts, that has me craving more.

Pesto’s versatility knows no bounds. From drizzling over roast vegetables to swirling into creamy pasta sauces, its uses are as endless as the possibilities in your kitchen. And don’t even get me started on the joy of stuffing it into chicken pockets or slathering it over a baked potato – it’s culinary bliss, pure and simple.

Here’s a little secret: you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy pesto’s delights. Experiment with different nuts – almonds, walnuts, even peanuts – and let your creativity run wild. Mix in some sun-dried tomatoes for a burst of umami, or swap out basil for a peppery rocket for a new twist on a classic.

Don’t forget about those kitchen scraps – carrot tops transformed into a winter pesto, kale leaves blended into a vibrant green sauce. Waste not, want not, as they say, and pesto is the perfect canvas for culinary innovation.

Listen to my podcast to discover a symphony of flavour, a whirlwind of inspiration, all wrapped up in a jar of pesto.

Five Pesto Recipes that will elevate your dishes to new heights of flavour!

Basic Pesto Recipe

DineJoziStyle Pesto
Photo: Thiea Alhoz

Making pesto with equal quantities of herbs, cheese, nuts, and oil is a fantastic way to create a balanced and flavorful sauce. Here’s a basic recipe to guide you through the process:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh herbs (such as basil, parsley, or a combination)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or any other hard cheese you prefer)
  • 1 cup nuts (traditionally pine nuts, but you can use walnuts, almonds, or even cashews)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Wash and dry your herbs thoroughly. Remove any tough stems and roughly chop the leaves.

Combine the herbs, grated cheese, nuts, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse the mixture a few times to break down the ingredients.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the processor running until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure everything is well incorporated.

Taste the pesto and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add more salt, pepper, or cheese to suit your taste preferences. Transfer the pesto to a clean jar or container once you’re happy with the flavour and texture. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or you can freeze it for longer storage.

Enjoy your homemade pesto tossed with pasta, spread on sandwiches, dolloped on grilled meats or fish, or used as a dip for veggies. The possibilities are endless!

With equal quantities of herbs, cheese, nuts, and oil, you’ll achieve a beautifully balanced pesto that’s bursting with flavour. Experiment with different combinations of herbs and nuts to create your own signature pesto recipe. Buon appetito!

Five Pesto Recipes

DineJoziStyle Pesto
Photo: Karolina Grabowska

The sky is the limit when it comes to making pesto. You are only limited by your imagination and whatever you have lying around in your fridge or pantry. Here are five of my favourite pestos I’ve created through trial and error. I would be lying if I told you that they weren’t all delicious!

Classic Basil Pesto:
Ingredients: Fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil.
Method: Blend equal parts basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and a clove of garlic in a food processor. Gradually add olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto:
Ingredients: Sun-dried tomatoes, almonds (or pine nuts), Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil.
Method: Blend sun-dried tomatoes, almonds, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until smooth. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Kale and Walnut Pesto:
Ingredients: Kale leaves, walnuts, Pecorino Romano cheese, lemon juice, olive oil.
Method: Blend kale leaves, walnuts, Pecorino Romano cheese, and a splash of lemon juice in a food processor. Gradually add olive oil until desired consistency is achieved. Season with salt and pepper.

Carrot Top Pesto:
Ingredients: Carrot tops, almonds (or any nuts), Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil.
Method: Blend carrot tops, almonds, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor. Stream in olive oil until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Rocket (Arugula) Pesto:
Ingredients: Arugula (rocket), pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil.
Method: Blend arugula, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor. Slowly add olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.

These pesto recipes offer a spectrum of flavours to suit every palate and occasion. Experiment with different ingredients and enjoy the endless possibilities of pesto in your culinary creations!

You can follow JoziStyle on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram– and you can listen to JoziStyle on Radio Today every Friday at 1 PM!

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