Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Rocket, Mint and Pecan Pesto

The original recipe for this is supposed to use walnuts, but I didn't have any, but pecans work well too.  You don't use a huge amount of mint here, but just a small handful adds a wonderful vibrancy to this pesto, which is great simply tossed through hot spaghetti or linguine.  I threw in some asparagus spears too into the pasta for a bit more substance.  A simple veggie dish (if you use a veggie alternative to Parmesan) and very quick to make too.  Easily qualifies for under a fiver!  Blanch 100g of rocket in boiling water just for about 5 seconds, drain and refresh under the cold tap, then drain again, and dry on kitchen paper.  Rinse a small handful of fresh mint leaves and dry on towels.  Toast 25g of pecans in a dry frying pan, watching them like a hawk and tossing frequently.  Tip onto a board and chop roughly.  Grate 50g of Parmesan or Pecorino, Grana Padano, whatever you have.  Now put everything in a processor bowl, with half a clove of raw garlic (I am using 'wet' garlic at the moment which is milder), a good grinding of black pepper and a little salt, then pulse once or twice to get things chopped and broken down.  Now, using the pulse action still, pour in good olive oil until you reach the consistency you like - usually about 4 or 5 tablespoons, I find.  Try not to mush it all up too fine but keep a little texture.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, and use as required.  Leftovers freeze well or will hold in the fridge for a day or so with a little more oil on the surface.

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