A ‘recipe’ for pesto seems like a contradiction in terms seeing as it’s surely just an assembly job? Throw it all in the blender and you’re done, right? This pesto is slightly more involved and it’s worth the effort because it’s different to any pesto you would be able to buy in a jar (plus it’s about a quarter of the price). At least, I’ve never seen one that uses these ingredients. I suspect the luxuriousness of said ingredients would not make it an attractive profit-making prospect for large manufacturers. So whilst you can just buy a jar, and lots of them are very good, it’s worth spending half an hour knocking this one up because once you have, all you have to do is boil some linguine and stir some through for a fairly decadent dinner in ten minutes flat. It can also be spread on fish or chicken and baked in foil in the oven as well as spooned onto crostini as a nibble to hand round at parties.
A word about the mint and coriander used in this recipe; don’t get them from the supermarket. It’s just way too expensive and the packet sizes are just too mean. Find a local Indian or Middle Eastern grocery shop that sells big old bunches for fifty pence – or even 3 for a pound in some places. These two lovely abundant bunches below cost me a quid, and you can’t say fairer than that, really.
The other thing about this recipe is that it may seem like rather a lot of garlic and normally it would be, but the difference here is that the garlic is gently cooked in the olive oil until it is just soft. This gives a sweeter end result to the pesto. The final difference is that there is no parmesan or pecorino in this version. It doesn’t need it, it’s rich enough without it but of course you can always grate some on your finished pasta dish afterwards.
250 grams salted, roasted pistachios in their shells
3 – 4 bulbs garlic
1 jar sundried tomatoes
1/2 pint olive oil
1 large bunch mint
1 large bunch coriander
1/2 tsp sea salt
Shell the nuts, peel the garlic and wash the herbs. Put the garlic cloves into a heavy based pan with the olive oil and heat very gently. All you want is for the garlic cloves to soften. Don’t allow the oil to boil. Once the garlic cloves are soft allow them and the oil to cool a little and then simply blend everything together. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do this in batches. Do use the stalks of the herbs and include the oil that the sundried tomatoes come in. That’s it. Put it in jars and keep it in the fridge.
Makes a pint and a half of pesto!