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Posts Tagged ‘Pesto’

We occasionally go to Lidl, when they have those country promotions on, for the white anchovies in the fridge section. Last time it was a Spanish promotion and we also grabbed a tin of artichokes which we used tonight for a mid-week pasta dish with spaghetti and pesto.

The pesto we used was an oregano version that we made in the summer and stashed in the freezer. Very happy diners!

Wine Suggestion: Artichokes are hard to match as they make most grape varieties taste metallic. However, Grüner Veltliner with its higher umami savouriness, really works. We opened a bottle of Höpler’s GV grown in Burgenland which is better known for it’s reds and sweet wines and goes to show how a great site always wins. Their GV vineyard reliably produces delightful wines and the current vintage is a gem; vibrant and fresh with hints of white pepper, pears and lemony citrus zest.

Spaghetti with artichokes & pesto – serves 4

  • 350g spaghetti
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 tbsp green pesto
  • 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
  • 390g tin artichokes, drained, quartered and dried
  • 50g pine nuts

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown, then set aside.

Cook the spaghetti in lots of boiling salty water according to the time given on the pack.

Meanwhile, gently mix the eggs, milk, pesto, Parmesan, and artichokes, together in a bowl, then season.

Drain the cooked spaghetti in a colander and return to the hot saucepan. Immediately add the egg and pesto mixture and stir gently until it forms a silky sauce.

Stir in the toasted pine nuts and serve in warm bowls with some extra Parmesan and a drizzle of your best olive oil if you like.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Oregano pesto

Our Oregano plants have gone mad, so we thought it a shame not to use them more. Taking inspiration from the Classic Basil Pesto and with a little adjustment this is of course good on pasta. It also really comes into it’s own on top of roast chicken: simply roast some chicken thighs and drumsticks and top with this when cooked.

Oregano Pesto – enough to serve 2 with pasta

  • 25g pine nuts
  • 25g oregano leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 15g Parmesan

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan and leave to cool.

Pound the oregano in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, some coarse ground black pepper and the garlic. When the oregano has broken down, add the pine nuts and pound until finely crushed. Stir in the oil and Parmesan, then season to taste. Cover with a layer of oil and store in the fridge.

 

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Classic Basil Pesto

Basil has come into season and is plentiful so we had to make a pesto. There’s likely to be a second batch next week too! We make pesto in a pestle and mortar but you could also use a food processor.

Pesto – enough to serve 4 with pasta

  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 25g Parmesan

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan and leave to cool.

Pound the basil in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, some coarse ground black pepper and the garlic. When the basil has broken down, add the pine nuts and pound until finely crushed. Stir in the oil and Parmesan, then season to taste. Cover with a layer of oil and store in the fridge.

(Original recipe from the Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017).

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Risotto bianco with pesto

It’s anything with pesto in our house at the minute. This dish is definitely suitable for adults too.

Wine Suggestion: We would suggest a good Fiano from Campani in the south of Italy with  freshness and fruit that isn’t too ripe and tropical. By avoiding over-ripeness you get more stone fruit with a fresh vibrancy. Alongside the rich risotto and herby pesto it’s a great match.

Risotto Bianco with Pesto – serves 6

  • 1.1 litres hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ a head of celery, finely chopped
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth or dry white wine
  • 70g butter
  • 115g freshly grated Parmesan
  • fresh pesto
  • small handful of pine nuts – toasted
  • small basil leaves (to serve)

Put the olive oil and knob of butter into a pan, then add the onion, garlic and celery, and cook gently for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened turn the heat up and add the rice.

Keep stirring for about a minute or until the rice looks translucent. Add the vermouth and continue to stir.

When the vermouth has disappeared, add a ladle of the hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladles of the stock, stirring all the time, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding another. This should take about 15 minutes. After this taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, keep adding stock until the rice is soft with a little bite. If you run out of stock you can add a some boiling water. Season.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well, then cover the pan and leave to sit for 2 minutes. Eat immediately garnished with a spoonful of fresh pesto, some toasted pine nuts, a few basil leaves and some extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

 

 

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Blistered peppers, pomodorini, mozzarella & pesto

Flavours of late summer and something different to use up fresh pesto. We loved this dish, so light but really tasty. Serve with salad and bread.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest a juicy Tempranillo with a touch of oak, like the Paco Garcia Rioja Seis; a modern style that doesn’t need food unlike some other Rioja wines. Very happily served alongside a dish like this.

Blistered peppers, pomodorini, torn mozzarella & pesto – serves 2

  • 2 large red peppers
  • 12 pomodorini or baby plum tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1  ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Cut the peppers in half lengthways, remove the seeds and rub all over with a little olive oil and seasoning.

Toss the tomatoes with some olive oil, seasoning and the garlic .

Heat a heavy oven-proof pan until hot. Put the peppers, cut-side down, into the pan and sear until blackened along the edges. Turn them over and add the tomatoes to the pan, then roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Put the tomatoes inside the peppers along with the chunks of mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil, then return to the oven until the mozzarella has started to melt. Put a tablespoon of pesto on each stuffed pepper before serving.

Serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe by Alastair Hendy in Olive Magazine, August 2014.)

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Tomato, pesto & marscapone tart

This couldn’t be easier, especially if you use fresh pesto (you can use the recipe below if you’ve lots of basil growing). Perfect for a late summer lunch.

Wine Suggestion: We find we gravitate to dry rosé quite often during summer as the good ones tend to refresh and revive us in the warmth and also complement summer foods. Today it was the Château St Jacques d’Albas Chapelle en Rose, predominantly Grenache and Mourvedre but with a touch of Roussanne from Minervois. Excellent.

Tomato Tart with Pesto & Mascarpone – serves 4

  • 1 ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
  • 6-8 ripe vine tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp pesto (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • green salad leaves, to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Unroll the pastry on to a baking sheet (it usually rolls out easier if you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes before using). Score a border 1cm from the edge and prick inside the border with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Gently squash down the middle of the pastry. Spread the pesto inside the border, dot over the mascarpone, then layer the tomato on top. Season well and bake for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked and the mascarpone has melted.

Decorate with some fresh basil leaves and serve some dressed salad leaves.

(Original recipe by Paula Stain in BBC Olive Magazine, August 2005.)

To make pesto:

Put a large bunch of fresh basil leaves (minimum 50g) into a food processor with 2 peeled garlic cloves, 25g of toasted pine nuts and 3 tbsp of olive oil. Blend to a paste, then slowly add 125ml through the feeder tube. Transfer to a bowl and fold in 50g of freshly grated Parmesan, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated in a clean jam jar covered with a layer of olive oil until needed.

 

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Pistachio pesto

Our fabulous friends have a weekender in the country with loads of space for growing herbs and veg. We are the very happy recipients when there’s more produce than one family can eat and we put it to good use. So if you have a prolific bed/windowsill with parsley and basil growing you should make this delicious variation on classic pesto. It’s especially good with roast chicken (drumsticks for us) but would also be nice with fish or vegetables.

Pistachio Pesto – serves 4

  • 50g pistachios
  • 25g flatleaf parsley leaves
  • 25g basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 100ml olive oil

Put the nuts in a bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Leave for a few minutes then drain and tip onto a clean tea towel. Give the nuts a good rub with the tea towel and skins should slip off. Throw the skins away and save the bright green nuts.

Put the nuts in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat until lightly coloured all over and smelling fab. Keep a watchful eye as they can turn from toasty to burnt in an instant. Put the nuts on a plate to cool.

Put the herbs and pistachios in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped (you could pound in a pestle and mortar but parsley is much more difficult to pound than basil so we recommend the processor if you have one). Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse briefly – you want to leave a bit of texture. Taste and season. Cover with oil and put in the fridge until needed.

(Original recipe from ‘The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure’ by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

 

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Italian seared beef

So this is a bit of a treat and yet has very few ingredients and takes very little time to prepare. Hail to that.

Wine Suggestion: fresher and bit more rustic than Bordeaux is Bergerac, into the Dordogne River to the east. The best vineyards are in the Pecharmant AC and have Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot as the dominant varieties. We found some unoaked wines on our last trip from Domaine des Costes, Cuvée Tradition which, while simple, had a joy and juiciness that perfectly complemented the beef, pesto and rocket.

Italian Seared Beef – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan until golden
  • 250g rump steak
  • 2 heaped teaspoons pesto
  • 40g rocket
  • 15g Parmesan cheese

Put a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Cut the fat of the steak, finely chop the fat and put into the hot pan to crisp up. Cut the sinew off the rump and season with salt and black pepper. Put the steak between two sheets of greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin until it is an even thickness of about 1 cm. Scoop out the crispy fat and set aside, then sear the steak in the hot pan for 1 minute per side or until golden but still pink in the middle (as per photo). Remove the steak to a board to rest.

Spread the pesto over a serving plate. Thinly slice the steak at an angle and scatter over the plate. Pile the rocket on top, then scatter over the pine nuts and crispy fat (you don’t have to eat the fat if you would rather not –  we’ll have it!). Mix the resting juices with a tbsp of good olive oil and drizzle over. Shave the Parmesan over to serve.

(Original recipe from 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2017.)

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Thrill of grill couscous

This is an old favourite that we make every summer. The chopped up mushrooms give it a fantastic earthy flavour and it works really well with barbecues and on picnics.

Tasty Couscous Salad – serves 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 400ml boiling vegetable stock (we still use Swiss Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 175g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • half a bunch of scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp pesto
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts, almonds or rough chopped hazelnuts
  • a generous handful of basil

Put the couscous into a bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover with cling film and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

When the 5 minutes is up, fork the couscous through to break up any lumps, then stir in the oil and pesto, then tip in all the veg and nuts and tear in the basil. Taste and season.

Simple as that!

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, August, 2002.)

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Cheesy tuna pesto pasta

Oh this is soooo easy and has become a regular feature in our house at lunchtime on Saturdays. Also adored by the resident 3 year old which is always a bonus. Maybe save the wine for after 7pm 😉

Cheesy Tuna Pesto Bake – serves 4 generously and the leftovers are good

  • 400g penne pasta
  • 200g tin or jar of good quality tuna in olive oil
  • 190g jar of pesto (we find that off the shelf rather than out of the fridge works better here as the fresh-made pestos make the dish a bit oily)
  • 100g cheddar, grated
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack.

Meanwhile empty the contents of the tin of tuna (including the oil) into a large bowl and add the pesto. Mash together with a wooden spoon. Stir in about a third of the cheese and all the tomatoes. Heat the grill to high.

Drain the pasta and stir into the bowl with the tuna and pesto mixture, then tip into a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Put the dish under the grill for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese has just melted.

Serve with salad and garlic bread if you like.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

 

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Pesto Lasagne

A really quick and easy lasagne full of Spring flavours. You don’t have to buy fresh pesto from the fridge as this tends to be more oily and makes this dish very rich; we successfully used a jar from a shelf instead.

Wine suggestion: A grassy European styled Sauvignon Blanc which tends to have a longer, if cooler, growing season is a good match. Avoid the big flavoured Sauvignon’s with the kiwi / tinned asparagus flavours that you might typically find from NZ and Chile as these flavours clash a bit. Exceptions to this always exist like the Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon, but a good Touraine or Sancerre would be our match.

Pesto Lasagne – serves 4 to 6

  • 190g jar of pesto
  • 500g tub mascarpone
  • 200g bag spinach, roughly chopped
  • 250g frozen peas
  • small pack of basil
  • small pack of mint
  • 12 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 85g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 50g pine nuts
  • Green salad & garlic bread to serve

Heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4.

Put the pesto, half the mascarpone and 250ml vegetable stock in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until smooth and bubbling. Add the spinach and peas and cook for another few minutes until the spinach has wilted and the peas have defrosted. Add the herbs and season but go easy with the salt.

Put a third of this pesto mixture into the base of a baking dish (approx. 18 x 25cm). Top with 4 lasagne sheets, then repeat with 2 more layers of sauce and lasagne sheets, finishing with a layer of pasta. Mix some milk into the remaining mascarpone to make a sauce consistency, season then pour over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and pine nuts, then bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown on the top and bubbling. Scatter over a few basil leaves before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2014.)

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Creamy chicken & green bean pesto pasta

Our garden is producing copious quantities of green beans, so we’re eating them with everything at the moment. This is also a great dish for using leftover roast chicken breasts – the legs, thighs and wings are more popular in our house!

Wine Suggestion: We really enjoyed a glass of the Domaine d’Albas Blanc with this dish, a less than usual combination of Vermentino, Viognier and Roussanne that really works; fresh and textured with nice stone fruit flavours and hints of exotic spice while remaining thirst quenching and moreish. From Minervois it is yet again another white from southern France that we’ve tasted recently showing how good white wines can be from this area – they’re often overlooked in favour of the reds. In good vineyards and with the right producer we’ve had a few crackers like this one, so we suggest keeping an eye out for more.

Creamy chicken & green beans pesto pasta – serves 4

  • 400g penne pasta
  • 250g green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of scallions, finely sliced
  • 2 large roast chicken breasts, shredded
  • 5 tbsp pesto
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • a handful of grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack and add the green beans 6 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Drain and reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions for a couple of minutes or until soft. Add the shredded chicken and warm through before stirring in the pesto and cream. Add the cooked pasta and beans to the chicken mixture and add a little of the cooking water to make a sauce. Season and serve with the Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Bacon, Broccoli & Pesto Pasta

We like simple pasta dishes for when we’re feeling tired and uninspired. You can easily get the ingredients for this on your way home.

Wine Suggestion: A Chianti, as we felt like it and it worked really well with the combination of flavours.

Pasta with Bacon, Broccoli & Pesto – serves 4

  • 300-400g short pasta shapes (depending on how hungry you are)
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 8 rashers of smoked bacon
  • 5 tbsp pesto
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Cook the pasta according to the pack and add the broccoli about 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

When cooked, drain but keep a cup of the cooking water.

Grill the bacon until crisp (we use a gas barbecue for less mess), then cut into bite-size pieces.

Tip everything into the pasta pan, toss together and loosen with a little bit of pasta water if you like.

Sprinkle over the Parmesan to serve.

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This is a good soup for the dark nights. The parsley pesto will keep in the fridge for up to a month (put in a sterilised jar and cover with some olive oil) and makes a great pasta sauce.

Potato Soup with Parsley Pesto – to serve 6

  • 50g butter
  • 900g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 850ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 225ml milk (or half milk and half cream if you have it)

For the parsley pesto: 

  • small bunch of parsley, leaves chopped
  • 25g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the potatoes and onion, toss until well coated and season. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Pour in the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

Put all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and whizz until evenly chopped and smooth. Add the oil and a pinch of salt.

Liquidise the soup until smooth, then add the milk. Adjust the seasoning and serve with some parsley pesto drizzled over the top.

(Original recipe by Rachel Allen in BBC Good Food Magazine, October, 2006.)

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This is a classic Sicilian dish. Casarecce is the pasta shown in the picture but you can use penne if you can’t find it. You can roast the pistachio’s in advance but don’t chop them until you are ready to make the pesto as they will go rancid very quickly once their oils are released.

Casarecce con pesto di pistacchio – to serve 4

  • 70g shelled pistachios
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 40g fresh basil
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g pecorino cheese, grated, plus a bit extra to serve
  • 400g casarecce (or penne)

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Spread the pistachios out on a baking tray in a single layer and roast for about 8 minutes. Check them near the end to ensure they don’t burn.

Chop the pistachios. Take ¾ of the pistachios and the garlic and pound to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Pound the basil into the paste, then gradually add the olive oil.  Add the remaining pistachios and the pecorino and pound just briefly to make sure you keep some pieces of pistachio. Season.

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and put the pasta back in the pan, reserve a little of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the pesto and add a bit of the cooking water to loosen if necessary. Grate over some more pecorino to serve.

Drink with: We tried a Vermentino from Colli di Luni DOC (Hills of the Moon) in the hills of Liguria in Italy which worked very well and is a classic partner for Pesto dishes. To be even more authentic to the dish we would suggest something Sicilian made from Grillo; you need minerality, nuttiness, fresh acidity and fruitiness wrapped in a medium bodied wine.

(Original recipe from Georgio Locatelli’s Made in Sicily, Fourth Estate, 2011.)

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Yum yum yum yum! Throw this together after work and you won’t be disappointed. Try and get salad potatoes – we could only find floury new potatoes in the village and they sort of went to mush. A great way to use up pesto.

Warm potato and tuna salad with pesto dressing – to serve 4

  • 650g new potatoes, halved lengthways (try and get waxy/salad potatoes)
  • 2 tbsp pesto (fresh is best – see recipe below)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 175g can tuna (we like to use the tuna in oil that comes in jars)
  • 200g runner beans, sliced finely on the diagonal (or you can use halved green beans)
  • couple of handfuls of spinach
Put the potatoes in a pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, mix the pesto and oil together. Halve the tomatoes, drain and flake the tuna. Add the beans to the potatoes for the last 3 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and beans and tip into a salad bowl. Stir in the spinach so it starts to wilt. Season well. Scatter the tomatoes and tuna over the top and drizzle over the pesto. Give it a final toss and you’re ready to go.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Our kitchen window was bursting with basil plants and sort of like “the Day of the Triffids” as they were out of control and growing like mad despite the neglect after being away for a week. So if like us you have some basil on your windowsill then make pesto – those leaves aren’t going to last forever! This makes about 250ml and will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. You can expect some pesto recipes from us to follow.

Pesto – about 250ml

  • 50g pine nuts
  • large bunch basil
  • 50g parmesan
  • 150ml olive oil, plus a bit extra for storing
  • 2 garlic cloves
Heat a small frying pan over a low heat. Cook the pine nuts until golden, shaking the pan. Keep an eye on them as they burn easily and very quickly.Put the toasted pine nuts into a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth, then taste and season.

Pour into a jar and cover with a little bit of extra oil and store in the fridge. Keeps for around 2 weeks – ready for instant dinners like the one below.

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