pesto

Pesto just may be the Modern Mother’s best kitchen friend.

For fakers like me, pesto is a secret and necessary weapon for transforming blah food into something beautiful. It just makes you look good.

 Here are its TOP 10 saves when you really need to wing it 

1.  As a dip with crunchy crudités.

2.  Atop a fillet of baked salmon for a gorgeously crunchy topping.

3. On top of poached eggs for hard-core flavour.

4.  With ricotta on toast. Add a squizz of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt to taste. OMG!

5.  With any long, squiggly pasta like linguine, spaghetti or fettucine. Sprinkle whole pine nuts and shavings of parmesan on top to really pull out the flavours.

6.  A drop or two on top of fairly ordinary soup gives major tang – and looks chic.

7.  As a lovely crispy crust on a rack of lamb.

8.  Blended with a good quality unsalted butter for kick-ass sandwiches.

9.  Mixed into meat sauces or meatballs for a quick up-style.

10. As a great side sauce for shell fish. An accompanying bowl of aioli makes it super-popular.

How to fake mega-efficiency

I always make epic amounts of pesto and freeze them so as to look really, really organised. With a few of these babies snap-frozen and on the ready, breakfast, lunch and dinner is a notch above what it should be. Soooo clever.

Tips for freezing pesto like a pro 

Because pesto is so damn fresh, you have to freeze and store with lots of love, or it will turn brown and really dire.

  • If freezing, don’t add your parmesan. It will change the taste of your pesto. Instead add it after de-frosting and before serving.
  • For fresh, great tasting and long-lasting pesto, be sure store in a glass jar with a well-sealed lid.
  • After filling the jar, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and close tightly. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge so long as you continue to top it up with oil. This keeps all those fresh herbs, well, fresh.
  • If storing in the freezer, aim for a month maximum.

And here are my three favourites….

Walnut Pesto

(via Kiss My Spatula version of the walnut pesto from the Four Swallows)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Pulse together basil and walnuts in a food.
  • Add garlic and olive oil. Pulse again.
  • Add cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pulse until just blended.
  • Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and pulse a few more times.
  • Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
  • Add more olive oil before serving, if taken straight from the fridge.

Pine Nut Pesto

 Ingredients

  •  1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups basil leaves, washed, one reserved for garnish
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or water
  • salt and pepper

Method

  • Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan with a pinch of salt.
  • When they turn lightly brown put them in a blender with the garlic, basil, parmesan cheese and olive oil.
  • Add a ¼ cup of vegetable stock or water and blend until smooth. You may need to add a bit more stock or water to get the consistency that you like.
  • Add plenty of salt and pepper to taste.

Coriander and Cashew Pesto

(via eatblogsleep )

 Ingredients

  • 4 cups roughly chopped coriander
  • 1 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 75 grams Grana Padano or parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon crushed chilli (you can use more or less, according to your tastes)
  • 4 tablespoons oven roasted tomatoes (you can use sun dried or semi dried, but if so, use only 2 tablespoons)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until pesto has reached desired consistency!

 

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