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Posts Tagged ‘Pesto’

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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