'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!
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!