The pine nut looks beautiful when toasted and scattered over salads, giving off a buttery & mildly resinous taste which is very appealing. Like the almond, these small, tear-shaped seeds are now cultivated around the world. Pine nuts are the seeds found in pine cones of the Pinaceae family of trees and are widely used in Mediterranean cooking, most notably in Italy. Italy began to cultivate pine forests during Roman times by order of the Pope. Pine nuts were used to make wine, preserved in honey and made into sausages. Evidence of their use was also found in the excavations of Pompei. Their use today continues to be as widespread and popular and there is never any difficulty in sourcing recipes. This is good news for people with high cholesterol or diabetes and also for children who need food packed with energy. One of my favourite things to make is pesto, usually homemade pesto is made according to personal taste. It’s not always wise to be too precise with the proportions of each ingredient – some people prefer more oil for a slacker result, others may like more garlic. Therefore, use this recipe as a platform for creating your own personalised pesto sauce!
75g basil leaves (a large handful)
2 cloves garlic
50g pine nuts
150ml of the best olive oil you can afford
Put into a food processor bowl and grind on high for about one minute until smooth paste develops. You may like to leave a few lumps for a more rustic-style pesto.