The Lettuce Ladder
A Hanging Hydroponic System

Hydroponic Basil Pesto

basil-pesto

 

 

 

A well-made pesto can be one of the best staples you’ll ever keep in your fridge to build flavor and add depth to your meals. It is versatile and good for you, and while some believe it is an acquired taste, most people find it delicious in combination with olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese.

Health Benefits

Believe it or not, pesto can help to protect the heart and lower your risk of disease. The olive oil in pesto is full of monounsaturated fats, which stabilize blood sugar levels and lower the risk of disease.  Fresh basil is loaded with phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, which can neutralize free radicals and let’s not forget the garlic. The superhero garlic is also full of health benefits as this vampire deterrent is also brilliant at fighting off the common cold and, if consumed regularly, can aid in lowering high blood pressure.

Uses

Stir through pasta for a quick and easy dinner, serve on pizza or focaccia bread, have it with lamb, drizzle over vegetable or just keep a jar in the fridge for those times you do not have basil on hand. A pesto made from your freshly picked hydroponic garden will be the welcomed in the middle of winter.

Tips

The most important thing to keep in mind when making pesto is flavor and fresh ingredients, especially the basil. Pick your basil in the morning if possible, to get the full flavor as the plant juices flow best in the early morning hours.

Makin’ It

Pesto, as with all great food, should be made to taste. But here is a guide you can follow until you master this delicate and deliciously fresh condiment.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basil
  • 1.2 cup good quality, fresh olive oil
  • ½ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic-3 if small
  • 1.76 oz. pine nuts
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pepper to taste

Recipe

Pasta Sauce with Basil Pesto

This is a wonderful 10 minute pasta sauce perfect for those days when you don’t have time to make that awesome tomato sauce, which can take hours to bubble down on the stove or crockpot.

Fry a small, finely diced onion in about two tablespoons of olive oil, add 3 cloves crushed garlic and two tablespoons of pesto. Fry for about 30 seconds then add a small can of chopped tomatoes, (you can use fresh cherry tomatoes also). Throw in a handful of grated parmesan cheese and 4-6 olives, if you desire, with salt, pepper and a teaspoon of sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes and you’re done. Add a little of the pasta water to the sauce if you want to adjust the consistency and serve it up with a side of grated parmesan!