5 ingredients and 5 minutes to perfect pesto – ideal for stirring through pasta or adding to a salad.
You may have worked out from my Wild Garlic Butter post that I’m pretty obsessed with these fragrant leaves, and as they have quite a short seasonal window, I always make the most of them when I can get my hands on them. I usually order Natoora wild garlic leaves from Ocado or from a farm shop if I pass one but you can forage for these yourself if you’re: confident that you’re picking the right thing, and that you’re not trespassing on someone’s land. I personally wouldn’t have a clue where to start so I definitely don’t advocate this but if you’d like to, you can!
I really, really love pesto. I’ll have it mixed in with oil and used to dress a salad; I use it as the base for my favourite vegetable tart; it makes a great stuffing for a chicken fillet and, I’ll even have it smeared over a piece of ciabatta and topped with tomatoes and thick chunks of mozzarella. Such a passion for pesto means I prefer to make my own where possible as it really couldn’t be more simple. I did however have to grab a jar in the supermarket a few weeks ago, and going on colour alone I grabbed a green (basil) pesto and thought no more of it. Until I got home and realised it was coriander. Coriander has no place in pesto. Or anywhere for that matter.
Now I’ve said pesto couldn’t be easier to make and it’s true, this takes just five minutes and you need just five ingredients or three if you assume salt and olive oil are kitchen staples. What could be easier?
Wild Garlic Pesto
- 175 g wild garlic leaves
- 80 g pine nuts lightly toasted
- 80 g parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1 generous pinch Cornish sea-salt
- 100 ml olive oil extra virgin
- Wash and prepare your wild garlic leaves. I take the long stems off and use only the leaves.
- In a small frying pan, lightly toast your pine nuts until they just start to turn golden brown.
- Add your wild garlic leaves, pine nuts and a good pinch of salt to a hand blender. As ever I use this one from Andrew James and blitz until everything is combined and paste like.
- Add in 3/4 of your olive oil and blitz again, adding more oil until you reach the desired consistency.
- Decant into a steralised jar if you're not planning on using the pesto immediately, this way it'll keep for up to a month, or pop into a bowl and cover with cling film if keeping in the fridge and use ideally within 3 days but no more than a week later. Or, pop into ice cube trays and freeze for up to three months.
Who would think such simple leaves could contain such incredible flavour?
A few simple ingredients and a few minutes preparation are all that’s required to create this fabulous sauce.
It’s best to grate your own parmesan for pesto rather than buying ready-grated cheese as you get a better, and fresher, flavour.
As soon as the pine nuts start to brown, take them off the heat.
Everything goes into the mini blender…
And away we go!
Before you add the oil the pesto will look thick and paste like. How much oil you add will depend largely on your personal preference.
I like my pesto to be a little thick, so that I can add oil and thin it down as necessary, rather than making it too thin and not being able to do anything but dress salads with it.
Leave in a bowl and cover with cling film if you’re using immediately or put into a small jar.
If you’re going to store the pesto for longer, place into a steralised jar and add a layer of olive oil on top to keep it fresh. Screw the lid on tightly, and, once opened, use within 3 days.