My summer garden plantings are coming to an end, and I have more fresh basil than I know what to do with. The rabbits, possums and wallabies don’t like it much, and have left plenty for me – while they nibble my kale, parsley and coriander into oblivion!
This pesto recipe is such an easy dish to prepare. You can have it on the table from scratch in twenty minutes!
Ingredients for the Pesto:
A few big handfuls (I mean BIG!) of fresh basil leaves, two or three large cloves of garlic, a small wedge of parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a cup or so of mixed nuts and seeds – I used walnuts, pine nuts, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sunflower seeds. (Adjust your quantities to suit the size of your blender/whizzer and the number of mouths you need to feed.) Note: You can really use whatever nuts and seeds you have to hand. I just like walnuts!
Plus – some fresh vegetables, enough to feed your crowd, and some pasta of your choice (gluten-free if needed – or you can swap out pasta all together for a big plate of steamed or roasted vegetables instead) – once again choose enough to feed you, and I’d strongly advise cooking extra to ensure some left-overs as this makes a great cold salad the next day!
Peel the garlic, and add to the food processor bowl with some parmesan cheese cut into small chunks. Whizz until combined. (If you’re vegan, omit the cheese – if you’re a cheese nut, add a little extra…)
Then heat a heavy bottomed frying pan and dry-fry your nuts and seeds until toasty. Transfer to a bowl so that they don’t keep cooking in the hot pan.
Wash your basil and drain well. Then get your pot of water on to boil for your pasta.
Add a handful of leaves to the food processor bowl and whizz. Then add a handful of nuts and seeds and pulse again. Now pour in a small slug of olive oil. Pulse.
Keep doing this until you have used up all your leaves and seeds. Taste and adjust flavourings, quantities and texture until you’re happy with it. The resulting pesto mixture should be glossy, bright green, and quite moist. Don’t be afraid to add a little more oil if it looks too dry. Season with salt and pepper or add a little chilli if you like it with a bit of heat (Mmmm!) I quite often add a little fresh lemon zest too.
Feel free to dip in a spoon or a bit of bread and have a cook’s taste while you finish up dinner.
Chop up your remaining vegetables, as these will go in your pasta! I like to use my frypan and a little oil and give them a quick stir-fry so they caramelise slightly to give the dish a richer flavour, but you could also dump them into your saucepan and let them get cosy with your pasta as it cooks.
Drain pasta. Put back into pot, add vegetables and pesto and stir to combine. Serve with some good bread, and a little extra cheese (if you like that sort of thing…) Enjoy ♥ xx