Sunday 11 September 2011

Pasta with Pesto (BLW)

When I was growing up in the 90's I fell 'victim' to a variety of fads; platform shoes, bright coloured trousers and the Macarena... I do not appreciate the 90's very much because of all this! Had I been older and wiser, I would have known better, but I was young and gullible. In fact the 90's, as a decade, didn't produce much to boast about really, other than the fact that, for some reason, Pesto became quite widely known and used. For that we can thank the 90's!

Pesto in its original, fresh form is a thing of beauty! It has great flavour, texture, colour and is extremely versatile. You can have it plain with some pasta, for a healthy, easy meal. You can add it to fish or meat, add it to a salad or a vegetable side dish. It is definitely a handy thing to have in the fridge. But it has to be homemade - the jarred versions are just not good enough, often leaving a slightly bitter taste in the mouth.

It is such an easy thing to prepare and is really worth making in big batches and keeping in the fridge (you can top the jar with some oil, to protect the pesto and it lasts for ages). This recipe makes enough for a pasta meal for 2 plus baby and some leftovers to be used to flavour another dish (meat, fish or veg).

For the pesto

40g of fresh basil (remove the big stalks)
80-100ml of good quality olive oil
2 tbs of pine nuts (you can lightly toast them in a pan, but I don't)
squeeze of lemon
2 tbs of grated Parmesan

Put the basil in a food processor and add half the olive oil. Blend together, until it is paste-like. Add one tablespoon of pine nuts and some more oil and blend again. Add more oil if you feel like it needs it (the mixture shouldn't be too thick and the oil helps make it creamier). At this stage add a squeeze of lemon and the pepper and blend again. Set a little bit aside for the baby, then add the remaining pine nuts and the Parmesan and blend for a few seconds, so that the pine nuts retain their crunch.

At this stage you add it to some boiled pasta (around 250g dried pasta for 2 people), along with some of the water the pasta was boiling in (a few tbs). Serve immediately with a little more grated Parmesan. Buon Appetito! x

BLW on her tray. Do not be fooled by the 3 bits of pasta (plus one in each fist). She can go through loads, if she is hungry!)

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