Thursday, 20 June 2013

Basil Pesto alla Genovese

Living in the watercress capital of Alresford in Hampshire I nearly always make my 'English' Watercress Pesto.  But this week Riverford delivered such lush large leaved basil that it seemed rude not to go the extra mile and buy pinenuts and decent Parmesan, and make this into basil Pesto alla Genovese like my mamma (who is in fact English but we lived in Italy for 5 years when I was a child) used to make.

A handful of basil leaves, tough stalks removed
50g pinenuts
50g Parmesan (not ready grated!!)
1 small garlic clove
50-75ml light olive oil, to make a loose paste

Roughly chop the garlic and parmesan and whizz together with the other ingredients in a mini food processor until a slightly sloppy paste.  Serve on hot pasta immediately for the best flavour. 

Any leftovers (ho ho) can be kept in an airtight container.  Basil does tend to go a little rusty brown with bruising and air so your pesto will probably darken in colour.  You can cover it with a light coating of olive oil to try to stop this, but the change colour does not affect the flavour.  It also freezes well.

Kids, I find, seem to love pesto.  They will determinedly pick out anything that looks like a green leaf in any other meal, but wolf down pasta with pesto sauce blissfully unaware of it's leafy origins.  I become increasingly convinced that they are hardwired to love cheesey garlicky food!

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