There are very few sauces that are as versatile, as fresh and as delicious as pesto.It’s quick and easy and comes together in the food processor. It brightens up the lamest soup, chicken or fish dish. And I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like pesto. Including my very picky 3 year old. I forget where I read it, but it goes “Pesto should be delicate, but decisive.” Every time I make pesto, I remember that.
I will give you the recipe for a basic pesto and then two ways in which I use pesto normally. With brown rice and veggies in a salad, and of course on a pasta.
Pesto Genovese (classic basil pesto)
2 cups fresh basil (or cilantro, or mint, or parsley or a combo)
1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan (or a mix of parmesan and pecorino)
3 tablespoons pine nuts (pr walnut, cashewnut, pistacchios)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
Blend everything but the oil and salt in a food processor until coarse but combined well. Add the oil and continue blending till you have sauce. Taste and season with salt (add salt at the end because the cheese is quite salty).
Brown Rice Salad
1 cup brown rice
2 cups diced veggies to roast (bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms)
1/2 cup pesto (I used cilantro-mint-cashew pesto and held back the cheese)
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp Olive oil, for roasting veggies
1. I cook the brown rice like pasta, in a lot of salted boiling water till done, and strain it and fluff it up with a fork. I find it best for salads. But if you have your way of cooking it, go ahead! Cool it a bit before mixing in everything.
2. Roast the veggies in a 200C oven (or pan roast them in a bit of olive oil) for about 20 – 30 minutes.
3. Mix the rice with the pesto and veggies and serve at room temperature.
Fideo with Pesto and Peas
175 grams pasta (pesto is awesome, you can use it with any pasta you have on hand)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup pesto (I used pesto genovese for this)
Salt and pepper
1. Cook pasta to al dente as per the package instructions.
2. 3 minutes before you strain the pasta, add the peas directly along with the pasta.
3. Strain pasta and peas, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
3. Mix the hot pasta and peas with the pesto and serve immediately. (Mix pasta water if the sauce is too thick)
1. You can use pesto in many ways: On pizza, in a soup as a topping, serve it with fish (awesome!), chicken or on toast, sandwich.. It’s an awesome recipe to have on hand.
2. You can make it with blanched spinach, carrot greens, kale, chard, arugula..