Pesto… if you dig about in your store cupboard or somewhere near the back of the fridge you will most certainly find, if not it has probably graced your kitchen at some time. Pesto is originally from the city of Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy and has been around since Roman times. In its original form it consists of basil, garlic, parmesan, olive oil and salt & pepper. That said the amount of variations that have cropped up over the last few centuries is staggering. The most common being the original green pesto, which now contains pine nuts and red pesto made from sun dried tomatoes.
For a number of years now I have been making my own pesto, it couldn’t be an easier base recipe and allows you to add or take away whatever you want. Variation is key, after some time you will settle upon what your preferred taste is in much the same way you would over a type of cocktail or sandwich.
Right now in the garden I have a real abundance of the peppery little salad leaf. I am a massive fan and it is one of the easiest salads to grow, there is only so much that can go in salads so I decided it was time to make some rocket pesto. As I said I have come by my preferred pesto mix and it doesn’t contain pine nuts, I think maybe because if the original recipe didn’t, why should mine!
• Bunch of fresh Rocket
• Small block of parmesan (30-40g) grated
• 2 cloves of Garlic
• 4-5 tbsp of olive oil
• 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• Salt & pepper
Finely chop all the ingredients, you can blend it but I find that chopping by hand gives a much more raw texture and looks way more appetising. Mix well in a bowl with a fork and that’s pretty much it. The best ways to eat your pesto as I am sure you all know, is to drizzle over pasta or use it as a dip for some nice crusty bread. Don’t be afraid to mix and match ingredients, pesto doesn’t have to be basil based. You can even make it half way between pesto and a salsa verde by adding a bit of mustard and some capers. The beauty of pesto is that there is no set recipe for it. Having said that I think I’m going to go and eat some I just made and photographed for this very entry!