Thursday 3 May 2012

Pesto Presto

Fresh basil
Make a good batch of homemade pesto, leave it on your fridge and you won’t regret it! Pesto is one of our family’s favourite additions to a quick meal. You can add it to cooked pasta, soups, casserole, spread on your toast and grill, mix with avocado, to boost an extra vitamin B6 into your system, or eat with some celery and powdered rosemary, as they work synergistically against indigestion. 
I have made a wild garlic pesto here, but this classic recipe with basil deserves a special mention.

The ingredients
Put the basil leaves with the pine nuts, garlic and salt
in the mortar
Grind down until becomes a paste. Add the olive oil and keep
Finally add the pecorino cheese and mix well
My pesto di Liguria!
While the lasagne sheets are boiling...add 5 tablespoons of
 pesto in a large frying pan 
Add 4 tablespoons of the pasta water and warm up
When the pasta is ready, remove them from the water
and put them into the pesto sauce
Mix gently
Now it is ready to eat. Enjoy!
Pesto di Liguria
Serves 4


1 large bunch of small-leaved basil about 80g
40g pine nuts, toasted
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
100ml organic extra-virgin olive oil
60-70g pecorino cheese or parmesan, freshly grated
Coarse sea-salt to taste


Put the basil leaves in a mortar (you can make it in a blender but I find this way more therapeutic) with the pine nuts, garlic cloves (I like grate them)  and salt and grind down until it becomes a paste. Add the olive oil slowly and continue grinding until the mixture becomes smooth. Finally, add the cheese and mix well. Taste and season if necessary.

Some of the ingredients and their functional properties

Basil (Ocimum basilicum): also known as holy basil, or Tulsi in India, is well used by traditional healers. In India and Africa, people rub the basil leaves against their skin to repel insects. Basil is loaded with carminatives (gas dispelling phytochemicals) and, like the mint family, basil is traditionally used to settle an upset stomach. Sweet basil is better used as a tea for indigestion, colds, flu, fever, headaches, nausea, cramps, kidney and bladder problems. Basil contains lots of antioxidants and activities that are known to fight pneumonia. Its medicinal properties include anti-pyretic (anti-fever), carminative, stimulant, diuretic and nervine. Basil is also known to act as preventive against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

A recipe by Dr. Michael Tierra that will be effective for most fevers: 30g of basil leaves to 600ml of water simmered for 20 minutes with 3 powdered black peppercorns per cup.

Garlic (Allium sativum): is one of nature’s first known medicines. It helps to prevent the common cold due to its antiviral properties. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It is packed with antioxidants and contains antibacterial properties.

Pecorino Cheese: a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk. It is a very good source of protein, calcium, vitamins B2 and B12. Universities in Italy announced the result of a six year study confirming that Pecorino cheese has anti-inflammatory properties. It can protect against cardiovascular diseases due to high amounts of CLA (conjugated Linoleic Acid), which reduces fat, preserves muscle tissue and inhibits tumour growths on the skin, mammary glands and stomach.

Till next week!

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