Homemade pesto and a quick pesto pasta

Pesto pasta with prawns and bacon

Pesto pasta with prawns and bacon

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I’d never made pesto before – always seemed like too much hassle when the stuff in jars is so convenient. But I bought a huge bunch of basil from the market recently, did nothing with it for a week and couldn’t think of anything else.

In a mini-chopper I blitzed up a half a handful of cashew nuts (I’ve subsequently done it again with the more traditional pine nuts), a clove of garlic went in next followed by a thumb-sized piece of parmesan, with a mix as each ingredient is added.

It needs a little olive oil now to loosen it, then the basil (about the amount that comes in a supermarket packet) can go in for a final mix. Add enough olive oil to loosen it to pesto consistency. Pop it in a jar and pour a layer of oil over the surface of the pesto to seal it – it’s kept quite happily for two weeks in my fridge. It’s a lot fresher than shop-bought and you get a better flavour from the individual ingredients.

It’s lovely to use as a kind of garlic bread substitute – slice a part-baked baguette and spread the pesto into the slices before baking. We’ve also used it simply stirred through a pan of warm pasta then cooled for a lunchtime salad.

Or it makes a great warm sauce for pasta. I had some large prawns and bacon in the freezer so while a pan of pasta was cooking I fried the diced bacon then the prawns in a small frying pan. Once done, four or five good teaspoons of pesto went in until warmed then i added a couple of spoons of creme fraiche. The drained pasta goes into the pan with the sauce for a quick stir before serving.

The result is a lovely creamy, light, basil infused sauce and all done in the time it takes to cook a pan of pasta.

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Categories: Pasta and rice, Summer, Veggie, Weekend


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