At last nights Autumnal supper demonstration at the Little Bull pub in Brenchley I made a homemade pesto. I was slightly surprised that nobody had made pesto themselves before and had always bought it in a jar. This prompted me to have a look at pesto in a little more depth, as I do both cheat and particularly when I have lots of basil in the garden or an abundance of a particular vegetable I make a pesto with it. Pesto is a sauce but be more generous with the olive oil (favourite recommendation is here) and you have a colourful and flavoursome dressing.
There are so many different types of pesto. Originating from Italy, the key ingredients have traditionally been cheese, nuts, olive oil and garlic but if for dietary requirements you cannot have these foods does it matter? I think if you use a few of the key combinations there is no wrong or right way to go with pesto! There are so many different recipes corn pesto, pea, beet, and red pepper, carrot pesto to name a few. If you use herbs such as basil for the more traditional green pesto or coriander and change the nuts from pine nuts to walnuts really the options are endless! Here is a recipe. I do love the fact you can literally create a pesto from any vegetable, mint and pistachio for example.
I also want to think beyond the bowl of pasta (my daughters absolute favourite dinner – pasta pesto!) I stuffed chicken breasts last night
Mix it in with soured cream or greek yoghurt as a dip.
Serve on a baked brie with French bread as a delicious appetiser.
Top your breakfast, particularly skip the sugar out of your pancake mix and stir in a little pesto.
Swap the tomato sauce on your pizza topping with pesto, remember its rich though so less required.
Add it to your bread dough for a slightly herby savoury bread or delicious spread in a sandwich or wrap for lunch.
For more ideas click here.
Pesto freezes well too – so if I make a large batch its great frozen even in ice cube trays to pull out at the last minute, to add a little sophistication to an otherwise dull dish…