The eight inch tall stone mortar and the heavy club-shaped pestle lying in one corner of a cupboard always made me think of my husband’s grandmother. I have heard stories of how she used to crush and grind uncooked potatoes, garlic, and green chillies and then lightly cook them to make an awesome dish called “batatyacha thecha” (something like a spicy potato Au Gratin). I had never met her, she passed away a couple of years before my wedding, but there are always abundant stories of her sitting down and preparing elaborate dishes.
For a long time now the mortar and pestle make me want to go pick it up and rustle up some basil in it to make the Pesto. Actually, the word pesto itself comes from pestare, to pound.
So much has been written about the versatile pesto sauce. Almost every food website and food blogger have this recipe online. And it can be used in so many different forms! In pasta, on open face sandwiches, on toasts, on pizza, in salads, cooked in rice with peas, for chicken gravy, added to hummus etc etc.. The list can go on as long as your imagination.
The best part is, it is SO ridiculously EASY! You wont believe it till you make it. I did not make it for a long time, because there was no fresh basil available here where I stay. So I asked a local vegetable vendor to get me a bunch of basil, and once that was in my hands, the pesto literally took 15 minutes.
Mushrooms are a house favourite. And they go excellently with pesto.Sauteed mushroom with chillies and olive oil piled up on toasted bread layered with pesto. That’s an excellent breakfast for a lazy morning, when you want to relax with a cup of chai and watch the world go by..
Ingredients and Method :
Yield : 1 cup pesto
- 1 bunch of fresh basil : About 2 cups leaves only, washed and dried
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 18-20 pine nuts or 10-12 cashew-nuts , chopped
- roughly 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, loosely packed and freshly grated
- Salt to taste
- 7-8 black peppers
- A few tbsp of extra virgin Olive Oil