Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Watercress and Rocket Blue Cheese Pesto

'Pesto' basically means to pound or crush. And traditionally pesto is made by pounding herbs and garlic with a mortar and pestle. But pounding makes me tired, hot and grumpy, so I revert to my old faithful - Mr Kenwood! End result? Gorgeous pesto in 5 minutes!

Typically, the pesto most people know and love is Pesto alla genovese - basil, garlic, olive oil, pinenuts and a hard cheese. My version uses rocket, watercress and creamy blue cheese... really quite different - and I loved it! One of the reasons I don't make pesto too often is because it costs a fortune to buy that much basil here (yes, I have tried to grow it - plants always commits suicide within weeks in my keeping... ;) But I will definitely use this as a way to use up excess herbacious leaves - they usually end up in the bin!

Now I know some people like their pesto chunky - but my personal preference is a full blitzing. If you'd prefer more texture to your pesto, put all the ingredients in at once and blend to desired bittiness!

I'm sending this over to Gay at a Scientist in the Kitchen, who is hosting Presto Pasta Night this week for Ruth at Once Upon a Feast!

Watercress and Rocket Blue Cheese Pesto

Excuse the dark piccy - I took this to a friend's house for dinner, and forgot my camera, so this is a phone camera shot!!
  • 150g watercress/ rocket, washed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small handful pinenuts
  • 3 tbsp blue cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the Pinenuts...
Roast your pinenuts in a hot dry pan for a minute or two - for an extra bit of depth!

Make the Pesto...
Put the garlic and pinenuts into your processors and blend until fairly smooth. Add the watercress and rocket and continue to whizz until the leaves are finely chopped. Incorporate the cheese - as it blends drizzle in olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

I used mine to make blue cheese spaghetti with asparagus - cook the pasta according to instructions, chucking in the aspargus for the last minute or two of cooking. (Yes, steaming it would be better - but this way is so much easier... less pans to clean too ;) Strain out the aspargus and chop into bite size lengths. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquor. Add the pesto to the pasta (I used half of the above portion to feed 4), top with the asparagus and crumble over more of the blue cheese. A sprinkle of roasted pine nuts on the top - and you're ready to slurp!

Related Posts


Dhanggit said...

I saw a famous french chef who did a similar recipe of watercress pesto...you think like big chefs :-) i love love this pasta! cant wait to try the recipe

gay said...

Looks like a good alternative to basil pesto, I have difficulty growing them too.

Peter M said...

Kittie, the piccy actually looks good considering it was taken from a cell phone.

The pesto sounds delightful and nice twist with the blue.

Dee said...

Oh, yum!
Have you tried freezing your herbs? I've started doing that because I hated having to bin the leftovers. Works like a charm.

When you get a chance, I have something for you on my blog.

Mike said...

I want to like it...but blue cheese?!? I mean, it's terribly stinky, and full of blue mold and stuff. Oh, well...that's why I'll never be a first class chef.

Anonymous said...

hi kittie, thanks for offering to help.
my email's delaniphilips@gmail.com

Beth said...

I love pesto. This looks divine.

kittie said...

dhanggit - thank you for the compliment! Btw, I just got totally sucked into your blog - really really lovely!! Your joust entry... ooooohhh.....

gay - I've just bought some Greek Pesto - it looks a little hardier!

Thanks Peter - the blue cheese was subtle, but most definitely made a difference.

Dee, thanks for the tip - I've frozen herbs in the pasta, but got out of the habit. Thank you for my award!!

Mike - I am a blue cheese convert! A couple of years ago I wouldn't have tried it because of the smell. Work past the smell. Mold is good!

Thanks Beth, and thanks for dropping by!

Ann said...

Fabulous! I love the sound of this pesto!

Ruth Daniels said...

It does look fantastic. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

One thing about living in Halifax is the dirth of good, humugous bunches of basil like the ones I could get at any local shop in Toronto for less than $2.

So now I'm always open to finding new pestos...your's definitely looks yummy.

Bellini Valli said...

What marvelous flavours Kittie. I would never have thought of it on my own:D