If somebody asked you to choose your favourite cuisine, could you do it? I regularly change my mind between Italian, Thai and Spanish and from one day to the next I wouldn't have the same answer. Then there's Dim Sum! Show my somebody who doesn't love Chinese dumplings and I'll show you somebody who is dead inside. Right now I'm on a bit of an Italian trip (I wish I really were) and am all about the pasta and fresh ingredients. Also Giorgio Locatelli. I'm developing what could only be referred to as obsession.
So I thought I'd kick off my first recipe with what I'm having for lunch today: Pesto.
Pesto isn't a difficult thing to master and there are many different recipes out there to try. The thing I love about it the most is how flexible you can be with the quantities and ingredients. The pesto I regularly make combines basil with rocket for a really strong iron taste but today I fancy something a little punchier and have recklessly thrown chilli in there as well. I think this works really nicely and it's perfect for a very quick, simple bowl of pasta and the only cooking you have to do is boil up a pan of water for your pasta.
Even the though the chilli adds a fair old kick I decided to round out the sharpness by adding half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and this adds a deeper smoky flavour that balances the raw garlic and lemon nicely. Feel free to add more chilli if you prefer but I was wary of completely masking the flavour of the basil.
Yes, it's ridiculously easy, but this blogger is a girl who would happily eat a bowl of spaghetti coated with just chilli and garlic fried in olive oil and having just polished the lot off in about 10 mins I can honestly say that it is delicious.
- 60g toasted pine nuts
- 2 pots of basil
- juice 1/2 a lemon
- 2 dry red chillis
- 50g grated parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 clove raw garlic
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste.
- Place the basil, pine nuts, cheese, chilli and garlic in a food processor and pulse until a paste is formed.
- Gradually add glugs of olive oil until a looser consistency forms, I found that 100ml was sufficient but this will depend on the quantity of leaves used, so go by look and taste.
- Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste
- Add to cooked pasta and stir to coat pasta with the lovely bright green sauce.
Bright sparkling pesto: add to pasta or use as a sauce for meat and fish.