In my cooking I like to keep things fairly simple, with the focus on flavour over flair. When it came to pesto my only experience was as a cheap filling meal; a jar of Sainsbury’s own brand pesto combined with a tin of tuna and a dauntingly large serving of pasta. Since making my own for the first time I could not believe what I had been missing; especially when combined with some homemade pasta.
The recipe below is my current take on pesto with some minor tweaks that, in my humble opinion, make for an interesting combination. The introduction of the fennel seed adds a beautifully fragrant finish; it is also one of my favourite ingredients at the moment. By using a mix of herbs and salad leaves the end product is both flavoursome and substantial enough to cope with the oil; not to mention it also beings down the cost of using herbs alone.
I served this with home made pasta and a fillet steak; it would also go very well in this recipe.
- 1 tbsp of pine nuts
- 1 tsp of fennel seeds
- Half a 100g bag of spinach, rocket and watercress salad
- Half a standard supermarket bunch each of basil and parsley
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- Two cloves of garlic (or one if you prefer things a little milder)
- A small amount of grated parmesan cheese
- Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Toast the pine nuts and fennel seeds in a dry pan and then grind in a pestle and mortar along with a pinch of sea salt
- Place the leaves, herb and olive oil into a blender and pulse until smooth
- Pour the herby oil into the pestle and mortar and stir to combine
- Grate the garlic gloves into the pesto mix and stir in along with the cheese and lemon juice
- Season to taste and serve