easy peasy pesto!
May 6, 2011 § Leave a Comment
One skill that I think is important in any kitchen, is thrift. If you can stock up on ingredients when they’re cheap, in season or on special offer, and you can freeze or prepare or preserve them for late use, you’re onto a winner. I do this with lots of things, and the other day in the reduced to clear aisle of the supermarket I came upon a massive pot of sun-dried tomatoes in oil for 70 cent. Perfect for making a batch of red pesto!!
Pesto is one of those magical substances that can transform the ordinary into the sublime. It has sooooooo many uses. Red pesto is sweeter than the green variety made with basil, and there’s a myriad of things you can do with it. Like spreading it on little rounds of toasted sourdough or focaccia for a tasty bruschetta, swirling a dollop of it into a bowl of roast butternut squash soup, mixing it with some crème fraiche for a creamy and speedy pasta sauce, adding it to your tomato sauce to give your home-made pizzas some interest, using a spoonful to liven up your scrambled eggs, or your baked potato, or even your mashed potato – the possibilities are endless!
Also on the list of endless possibilities, is what you can actually put into your pesto. The green version is usually basil, garlic, toasted or plain pine nuts, olive oil and a hard cheese like parmigiano reggiano, or a pecorino. The red is usually made with tomatoes, almonds, garlic, basil and olive oil. The secret is I think, to adapt it. Twiddle and fiddle with the recipe using whatever you have to hand to make it your own. Some people adore garlic [husband] and would be happy if that was the dominant flavour. Others [me] prefer it to be more of a base-note in pesto. Some like it really creamy and cheesy, others prefer it more savoury and dry. Experiment, experiment, experiment.
So for today’s batch I had the glut of juicy sun-dried tomatoes. I held the oil back as it’s a lot easier to add oil in at the end if your pesto is too dry than try and remove it, if your pesto is too oily
I put them into the glass beaker I use with my stick blender. You can of course use a conventional blender, or a food processor. I won’t judge you. Next in 2 big cloves of garlic, some fresh basil…
…two tablespoons of ground almonds, and some black olives. I love black olives. If you don’t share my passion for these tasty little ebony morsels, you can of course leave them out. I won’t judge you. Much.
Once everything is blended, yer done! If you like your pesto a little ‘wetter’ you can add in some more extra virgin olive oil, but I like to leave mine dryer and ‘meatier’ so I have more options for what I can do with it. Loosen it up with some oil, or leave it as it is for spreading, mixing with crème fraiche, or dotting onto a chicken breast or round of goat’s cheese before grilling.
And there it is… with my bargain 70 cent purchase, a few ingredients, and this…
…I was able to whip up a jar and a half of this…