As an undergraduate university student one of the staple components of my diet was pesto pasta. Lunches, dinners and even later night dinners (i.e. when I came home from a night out) were frequently quick pasta dishes with differing ingredients. There was even a bowl of pesto pasta to which I added chopped up pieces of chips.... The common denominator? Pesto.
A trip to the supermarket was never complete without the usual pot of pesto in the trolley, knowing full well you'd get your money's worth out of it. The phrase 'Pesto is besto' is definitely accurate; I mean, it has been referred to as "the most loved raw sauce of the world." Of course, pesto doesn't have to be just on pasta; it can be a marinade , an addition to pizza, or cheesy garlic bread! Undoubtedly a chorus of students could attest to its presence in cupboards and fridges across the nation. Not to say that it is only adolescents who have recently flown the nest that partake in this sauce, plenty of adults enjoy and use it.
Last night I resurrected my love for this versatile sauce and ventured to make my own. Turns out it's not that difficult. In fact, it's super easy to make.
Traditionally it's made with basil and pine nuts, which I substituted for cashews and spinach. "Substituted" is a word which here means it was all I had in my kitchen and I thought it might work the same. One of the positive factors of making your own pesto is that you can make roughly the exact amount that you want. I have to admit that although I love pesto, I don't eat it as frequently since graduation. So when I take a notion for it, the jar gets used once and then sits in my fridge until I either remember it's there or take another fancy for it - but by then it needs an obituary.
I collected the few ingredients that I needed and assembled them on my trusty chopping board: two cloves of garlic (crushed,) a handful of spinach leaves, a handful of cashew nuts, nutritional yeast, Cornish sea salt and olive oil. All you need now is a blender to whizz all the ingredients together to create the sauce that'll transform your dish into the next level. The blitzing of the ingredients corresponds to pesto's etymology, deriving from the Genoese dialect of the Gallo-Italic language Ligurian. More specifically it relates to the verb to pound/to crush. And what's life without a fun fact? From Genoa to that 24 hour corner Sainsbury's to my kitchen, pesto has been a cornerstone of my life.
You might have to stop and scoop down the contents to re-blitz, either to add a bit more spinach or olive oil, but the process should take a few minutes and when it's done you won't be sorry, you can add it to anything! I had some left over that I put in a bowl to store in the fridge. I assume it's best to use it asap, otherwise my home-made pesto's obituary will feature alongside the store bought.