Pesto is one of those things I buy all the time and I often wonder if it’s worth the price for what you get. Pine nuts are ridiculously expensive and with a macadamia nut tree in our backyard, I figured I should try to make some macadamia nut pesto. The macadamia nuts I harvested from our tree about 6 months ago are now dry are ready for eating. The nuts haven’t been roasted, but in their raw state, the are great for pesto.
Let me start off by admitting I don’t own a food processor. I had one once but I never used it so I gave it away. This pesto recipe is all choppped by hand which doesn’t take long at all, but would be faster if you let a machine do the chopping. Saying that, it’s also really satisfying chopping up a whole bunch of stuff.
I mixed this batch of pesto with a pan of whole button mushrooms and baked for 20 minutes in an 180°C / 350°F oven but this would also be great stirred into pasta or eaten with crackers or bread. You can even eat pesto with a teaspoon if you’re into that kind of thing.
Basil and macadamia pesto
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 a cup of raw macadamia nuts, shelled
A large bunch of fresh basil
1 garlic clove
3/4 cup of finely grated parmigiano reggiano (or parmesan)
Juice of 1/4 lemon
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- In a mortar and pestle, crush and pound the macadamia in small batches until nuts are chunky in pieces that are quarter or smaller.
- Peel a large clove of garlic and then using a large chopping board and a sharp chef’s knife, finely chop the garlic, followed by a handful of basil leaves at a time. Chop everything together. The trick is to roll the basil leaves into a cigar shape and chop finely. If you chop basil in a big pile, it will want to spring up and jump around.
- Add the pounded nuts a handful at a time and chop, chop, chop.
- Finely grate the cheese (I use a Microplane zester), and pot into a small bowl. Add the well chopped ingredients. Stir in lemon juice, taste and salt to your taste.
- The pesto can now be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Stir in extra virgin olive oil before serving.