On a bit of a mad pesto munch at the moment. I don’t make it nearly often enough, usually making do with jars, but every time I make a batch by hand I’m reminded of what a simple, enjoyable process it is. It’s certainly more costly than buying a jar for £1 but if you buy the fresh elements when they’re reduced or on offer, and substitute pine nuts for a cheaper alternative you can half the cost.
Pea & Walnut Pesto.
175g fresh hulled peas
60g fresh basil leaves or 2 pots
100g walnuts (whole or pieces – whichever is cheaper)
75g parmesan cut from a block
2 cloves garlic
juice of half a small lemon
the best olive oil you can lay your hands on
salt & pepper to taste
No grating here. Chop or break up your cheese into cubes & place in a food processor with your 2 garlic cloves. Whizz until powdered. Now add your peas, basil, walnuts & lemon juice. Start your food processor and begin to pour in your olive oil. You’ll probably need to stop the machine & scrape down the sides a couple of times. Continue until you reach the consistency you prefer, then add salt & pepper to taste.
Serve with pasta, fish, chicken, toasted bread – whatever you like.
Pesto is a constantly changing thing which is seldom exactly the same any two times I’ve made it. Just get the flavours how you like them.
This recipe makes about 600g. Quite a lot, but it freezes well.