It’s that time of the year again, when our farm in Mahabaleshwar is thriving and blooming. The entire farm is disrupted during the monsoons, which are heavy, non stop and torrential. In fact Mahabaleshwar gets the second highest rainfall in India, next only to Cherrapunji.
Just before the rains are predicted to stop, (and these predictions never come true!), we start planting some seeds in a sheltered area. Once the rains stop, the seeds are now seedlings and can be re transplanted in pots or beds. It’s a lot of work! The soil has to be turned, aired and new top soil has to be spread. Since we plant over almost 2 acres of land, it’s a busy time for all of us.
Seeing the seedlings burst forth into vegetables and flowers is the best thrill and pure fodder for my soul. I love the city but off late ever so often I just want to vacate my senses and vegetate with the vegetation.
This year started with a wild, wild and massive bush of Basil. So much that I did not know what to do with it. I plucked them and got them back to Bombay, still pondering in my head and actually stressing over not wasting this lot. It was fragrant, the leaves heavy with taste. I decided to make Pesto and sell it to my customers.
I came home and experimented with a batch. It was perfect, green and luscious. I bottled it and announced the sale, and it was gone within hours! All the bottles were booked!
Over time, the green becomes pale and dark. So if you want really bright green pesto, make it on the spot and use it. Making it a day in advance allows all the flavours to steep. But if you want to use it as a dip, or in an open sandwich, then make it on the spot.
Basil grows very easily in home cultured pots. And mind you, it can grow wild. Now when you have too much Basil, and your heart is breaking at the wastage, you know what to do with it.
We were all having fondue, and one of our friends did not like the smell of the cheese. So I made Pesto Pasta for her and her husband. I do believe the plate was polished off!!! 😀
I hope you enjoy making this recipe, because there is no better smell than that of, fresh basil, smooth virgin olive oil and fragrant new garlic.
- 1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves packed
- 1/2 Cup Walnuts toasted
- 1/4 Cup garlic Peeled
- 1 1/2 tspn Sea Salt
- 10 pcs Black Pepper
- 1 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 1/2 Packet Pasta Boiled
- 1/2 Cup Exrtra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 4/5 Cherry Tomatoes for garnishing, optional.
- Add all the ingredients of the pesto to a food processor and mix till its cohesive and no coarse pieces can be seen or felt.
- Put aside to use immediately or bottle in sterilised jar for future use.
- Boil the pasta and keep aside
- Add the oil to the pan, and then add the pesto.
- Add the pasta and half of the parmesan cheese.
- Toss well and add 1/4th cup of the pasta water to the mix
- Toss again
- Serve hot garnished with the remaining parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes.
- Add a side of toasty garlic or plain bread with this dish.