Friday, June 22, 2012

Pesto - Going Nuts # 3

Recipe done in Oct 2010.

Yes you didn't read it wrongly, 2010. LOL. Had been waiting for a suitable theme.

Actually before this, I didn't know how pesto really tasted like. I had some pesto on pasta before in Italiannies or Tony Romas, but I didn't know what it was. My pasta didn't taste any tooo special. Just a hit of herbs, that's it.

Until I saw Swee San making her own pesto, I only knew what pesto is. Yeah, it sounds hard to believe. But I grew up eating Chinese and Malaysian food, knows heck about Italian food except bolognese and Pizza.

My mother in law brought back 1 ½ Ibs of pine nuts from US. So, in order to use it up, I tried making pesto.

After making Hakka Thunder Tea, I was a bit scared of the pesto turning brown immediately after grinding. I read, that slightly blanching it might prevent it from oxidizing too soon. Or coat with oil. I chose the latter. So, before the leaves are ground, I put in oil, so that it will coat the leaves as it grinds and prevent it from oxidizing.

The usual way is dumping everything into a food processor and blitz. But it doesn’t work the same when it’s with a mill. A lot of Malaysians possess a blender mill set, rather than a food processor.

I tried 2 methods.
1. Mill the nuts first, then only add the leaves and oil and mill together.
2. Put everything together and mill.

Which is better? The first. The nuts are evenly ground, whereas the 2nd method leaves the nuts in uneven chunks.
The instructions for this pesto is written for use with the mill.

Recipe source: WendyinKK
Recipe referred : Swee San's

100gm pinenuts
1 pack of sweet basil (50gm with stems)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

1. Lightly toast pine nuts in a pan until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
2. Rinse basil and shake off water. Remove leaves from stems. Set aside.
3. Put pine nuts into a dry mill and process until fine. Remove half the milled nuts, set aside.
4. Put in 1 Tbsp of olive oil, ½ clove of garlic, ½ tsp salt and finally put half the basil leaves into the mill.
5. Process for few seconds or until fine.
6. Repeat milling process with the balance of milled pine nuts, oil, garlic, salt and basil.

*Can add more oil if you find it dry, but I'm ok with this amount
** If you are using food processor, just dump in everything and blitzzz.

Homemade Pesto tasted oh so goooood, compared to store bought or even restaurant served. And I could taste the nuts instead of just smelling olive oil.

Some of you may want to know, how to eat Pesto? You can either spread on bread, toast or even top your pizza with it. Or just mix with freshly boiled pasta and toss. Like how we will toss our noodle with soy sauce <3, love it!

The amount I made was enough to dress 4 servings of pasta.

Vermicelli pasta tossed with pesto, topped with powdered parmesan and more pine nuts, yummy!

That was almost 2 years ago. I was buying sweet basil.
Now, I have lot of Sweet Basil in my garden, too much that I can't finish up.
They grow faster than weeds!


  1. I like making pesto if I have lots of fresh basil and freeze them up. I like blanching the basil first so it won't taste so 'green' My basil patch is growing like weeds too and I can't wait to make this :)

  2. LOL, they grew faster than weed? They die faster than parsley. All my basil died during the winter, parsley survive.

  3. I make this using my faithful lesong batu. Next time I must add pine nuts. I also have basil in my garden, they are so easy to grow. I add pesto to my salad dressing to give it that extra oommph.

  4. I'm so happy when you shared this recipe! Was just thinking of making some pesto for my pasta. Thanks!

  5. Hi,
    it has been a while since my last visit... the homemade pesto should be more fresher & tastier than d ready made one... I haven't try to make one so far.. may be shud try one day..

  6. So wonderful of you to share this with us! And so we will have more ideas to our daily cooking.

  7. so jealous that you garden got alot of sweet basil...i love it so much...

  8. You forgot one very very very important thing! Pecorino cheese!! ;)

  9. Swee San,
    Regular size only la, just that when compared to vermicelli, they look big

    Since it's so weedy, I wonder why it's so expensive here. RM4.90 for 50gm.

    hehehe, it's ok here, summer all year long.

    Phong Hong,
    I thought pine nuts is one of the most basic ingredients for the basic pesto?
    Err.. I'm no expert in this.
    Sounds good too with salad

    Hope u like this

    Oh yes, so so much better!
    I've never bought before, just ate at restaurants.

    My pleasure ;)

    very soon urs too. Sorry ah, lately very very busy...

    Errr.... what's that?
    I'm a noob to a lot of foreign ingredients.

  10. You forgot the cheese! It looks gorgeous though, and sometimes people do sub the cheese out for a dairy-free version! Cheaper too, esp since good italian cheese is SO expensive in singapore.

  11. you know, i hardly use mill for grinding and only started to realise their use for grinding after reading your older posts that you use the mill for doing that. yeah, actually use the food processor more than the mill but ever since then, i know for smaller quantities, i can use mill..just that so used to the food processor that sometimes forget about the blender and mill:)

  12. Shu Han,
    I only used cheese after dressing the pasta, and it's just cheap parmesan. In the nearest town, feta blocks only came by not too long ago, last 2 months, and they aren't European feta, so you could guess they are not made from goat's milk.

    Haha..use whatever you feel comfortable with.
    I find food processor to be slow and not as fine compared to the mill.
    I have a small one attached to my immersion blender, it seems slower than my old mini processor. Haiz,... now u make me miss my Braun.

  13. Pecorino is a mature hard cheese made from sheep's milk. Widely produced in Sardinia, Italy.

    Popular variety is Pecorino Romano (Pecorino made in the Roman style).

    Texture is of medium to hard (depending on age), and very crumbly. Tastes and smells strong, if you like cheese, you'll like this. Quite salty.

    Widely used in Italian dishes and condiments such as pesto Genovese (made with pine nuts, Ligurian basil, garlic, olive oil and pecorino) and pasta sauces - al'amatriciana, caccio e pepe and many more.

    I have difficulty in sourcing good ones even here in KL, so I get friends to buy them from Italy hehe!

  14. I only know how to make pesto after I knew my Quay Lo. First time I tasted it, now so fond of it but now I acquired the taste and love it.

  15. Hi, where can i get pine nuts and also the fresh basil? Thanks


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