Pesto is the heady, cheesy, nutty sauce with the peppery perfume of freshly picked basil. It is the best sauce for pasta, courgetti and any roasted, warm climate vegetables such as aubergine and peppers. It is also delicious dribbled in soup. The Italian word pesto means ‘pounded’ and recipes for it vary.
It does not have to be too garlicky – a hint will do. You can use a little garlic infused oil which does not contain FODMAPs. Remember the smell of garlic is due to a compound called allicin which does not contain FODMAPs and is unlikely to trigger ymptoms. Just fry a little sliced garlic in olive oil and discard the garlic flesh once browned.The garlic flavoured oil is then ready to use.
Pesto originates from Genoa in northern Italy. When wild garlic is in season you can add a few leaves in among fresh basil.
Pesto bought in jars has been pasteurised which affects its flavour making pesto made in this way taste sour. It is much better to make it fresh.
Pesto is a really useful sauce and if you feel like no more than a few rice or buckwheat noodles or pasta for supper, a drizzle of pesto will transform it into something special.
Takes 5 minutes to prepare
- 1 medium sized bunch of fresh basil
- 50 g/1 ½ oz Parmesan cheese, grated finely
- 50 g/2 oz pine nuts
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 100 ml/ 3 fl oz olive oil / garlic infused oil
Grind the pine nuts in a pestle and mortar (or food processor), add the Parmesan cheese and about half of the basil leaves. Pound these ingredients together and then add the remaining basil leaves. Continue to pound these ingredients until they have been broken down to a rough paste.
Gradually stir in the olive oil and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
You can vary pesto by:
- adding the juice and zest of half a lemon
- using garlic infused oil instead of olive oil