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Posts Tagged ‘Pesto’

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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