Walnut Pesto

Walnut Pesto

There are certain foodstuffs that we buy, that I know should be so easy to make ourselves, but for some reason, never get around to it. Either, there’s something we don’t have from the ingredients list, Or, I just assume it won’t be as easy as I think it might. Pesto is one of these things. At least one jar, often more, is bought on every shop. Meaning more bottles to recycle and meaning always paying over the odds for something.

But, with the most recent haul in the garden being walnuts, we decided the the time had come to crack the pesto…

Ingredients

  • Two or three large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • A cupful of walnuts – depends on the size of your cup, but this was the amount we used, above
  • A big bunch of fresh basil leaves – again, it depends on how strong you want your pesto to be
  • A chunk of fresh parmesan, grated. Same as with the basil, it’s all down to personal taste
  • Olive oil – as above, re personal taste, as you can add more as necessary

01

Toast the unpeeled, whole garlic, in olive oil. Once the skin begins to brown, remove from the pan and set aside. Once it’s cooled down, peel the skin away.

02

Toast the walnut kernels, for about 10 minutes, stirring in olive oil, so that they don’t burn.

03

Combine peeled garlic, walnuts, basil, parmesan cheese and olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You’ll need to need to use a plastic scraper to mix the pesto as the walnuts tend to stick to the sides, until blended. This is also when you can add more parmesan and olive oil, depending on your taste and the kind of consistency you want to achieve.

04

Season with salt & pepper according to your taste. And serve…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti al Limone – a taste of summer

Spaghetti al Limone – a taste of summer

Spaghetti dishes are often our go-to meals, especially if we’re a bit short on time. Current favourite is just flash frying, in olive oil, chilli flakes and garlic and mixing through spaghetti, and sprinkling with parmesan. Done in less than 10 minutes. But recently, on one of my favourite Twitter accounts – Beauty From Italy – I spotted this alternative and had to give it a go.

Spaghetti Al Limone

On first reading, this recipe looks easy-peasy but  you do need to set a little bit of time aside for prepping and it’s also not a one pan meal. But, go for it – it’s absolutely deliciously decadent. And, surprisingly, when you taste it, there’s not a drop of cream in sight. The recipe below will serve four, but we couldn’t find our scales so we guesstimated and it all worked out OK, so we think you don’t need to fret over quantities too much.

* about 400g dried spaghetti
* 2 organic small/medium lemons – we used a mahoosive lemon & the end result was very “lemony” so maybe go for small ones if you don’t want it too tart
* 160g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
* 80g finely grated parmesan cheese – no weighing out of parmesan in this house so think we’d have used way beyond 80g. You can’t restrict your use of fresh parmesan…
* freshly cracked pepper
* extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

Bring a large salted pot of water to the boil. While it is boiling prepare your other ingredients; squeeze the lemons and keep the lemon halves to one side; finely grate the cheese and set aside; chop the butter. Cook your spaghetti, then transfer it, using tongs, to a second pan – liberally splash in the water it’s been cooking in. Then add the chopped butter and lemon juice and stir until it becomes very creamy. At this stage add in the parmesan and stir. And, it’s ready.

Pile onto warmed bowls, sprinkle with a bit more parmesan – because why wouldn’t you? – and black pepper. Keep your halves of lemon handy in case you need a bit more zest to squeeze over. And, enjoy…