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.
That sounds absolutely amazing to use macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts in pesto. Genius! And also so cool that you have your very own macadamia nut tree. Macadamia nuts are almost as costly here as pine nuts are.
Will have to give this a try! But I will use my food processor 🙂
Hmmm…I wonder what a cheaper nut to pesto would be? Cashews?
Walnuts probably. Which are delicious in pesto too.
Peanuts are cheap too, but I don’t think I have ever heard of a peanut pesto. Maybe peanuts and basil are a clashing combo?
Not a nut, but sunflower seeds here are dirt cheap. Could be a cheap alternative?
That’s a possibility! Seeds open up new territory . . .
I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas!
Oh my gosh, great pictures! Recipes sounds delish!
I should try with macadamia, I tried with many types of nuts and macadamia is missing!
Next time try with a mortar and pestle for everything, including the basil leaves, in Italy we don’t use knifes with basil, it alters the flavor of the herb.
If I don’t get a chance to pop by before… Merry Xmas! I hope that you will have a great holidays Season!
Thanks for the Italian tip A! Have a lovely holiday season to you too. Enjoy your family and food.
Yum! I love pesto but have never bought, just make it at home — it’s so easy to make. I use my food processor at least twice a week if not more!
Hi Eva! What else do you use your food processor for? Now that we have a little more kitchen storage, I’ll consider getting one if I think I’ll use it often enough.
Hi Genie, I would suggest this one as it is very versatile: http://reviews.crateandbarrel.com/7258/6926/cuisinart-smartstick-immersion-hand-blender-reviews/reviews.htm
This stick blender also has a small food processor included, which can easily chop and blend. I love the immersion blender bit which makes creamed soups amazing. The whisk is unbelievable for beating egg whites.
I use my regular sized food processor for making the following:
dips such as: http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/hungarian-korozot/
If you make pie crusts, you can pulse the butter into the flour with ease. It’s quite a versatile tool in the kitchen.
Hi Eva, I have a Cuisineart stick blender but not the chop attachment. I wonder if I can just buy the extra attachment? That would make it an easy decision.
I’m sure that you can, as I’ve had to order a replacement whisk because mine broke! It’s a very handy little chopper. The only thing you need to be extra careful with is to make sure you click it into the gears correctly, I’ve stripped mine and Cuisinart generously replaced the entire stick!
I once tried to make pesto with a hand-blender. It resulted in more pesto on the ceiling than in my bowl. I remember having to go t-total on pesto in NZ as it was way too expensive. So i can see why you’ve made your own! Ever tried it in your mash potato? And does your pesto taste much different to the usual pine nut pesto?
It didn’t taste different to pine nut pesto and pesto mixed with mash potato sounds great!