Basil-Pesto-ingredientsQ: Hi, I’m looking for a simple basil pesto recipe. All the recipes I’ve found so far seem to call for pine nuts – where does one buy pine nuts from?

A: Most of your larger store’s should stock pine nuts, if you have no luck there try a health specialist shop or deli. At a push, you can use peeled almonds, but the flavour and texture is not quite the same.

In our cooking classes at Wickedfood Cooking School have found that the best recipe for Basil Pesto is one that is kept fresh, simple and to a minimum so that the flavours can really come through on their own. The most common pestos are probably Pesto alla genovese (basil), Pesto alla siciliana (tomato and less basil), Pesto alla calabrese (grilled bell peppers and black pepper) and Arugula (rocket, black olives, lemon peel and coriander).

In a recent individual cookery class at Wickedfood Cooking School we used this recipe which came out as a firm favourite:

  • 4 cups basil roughly torn (soft stalks can be added)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • ±1t sea salt
  • ¼ cup Parmesan
  • ±1 cup olive oil
  1. Place the basil, pine nuts, garlic and salt in a mortar and pound until a smooth paste is reached.
  2. Add the cheese and mix in well.
  3. Slowly pour in the olive oil and mix until the desired consistency is reached.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and store in an air-tight container for ±1 week.

Serve with fresh pastas for best results.

Wickedfood Cooking School

Sunninghill – (011)

Wickedfood cooking school runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built cooking studios. Classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our classes are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and teambuilding cooking classes these classes are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.