Apr26

Rocket and Walnut Pesto

Rocket and Walnut Pesto

Rocket and Walnut Pesto

You can buy excellent jars of pesto, but making your own is more satisfying. “Proper” pesto is of course made with basil, garlic, parmesan, pine nuts and oil and is a joyous thing.
The trouble is that our climate in England makes it hard to grow large quantities of basil except in the best summers, and supermarket basil is expensive. So all sorts of alternative pestos have sprung up.
This rocket and walnut version is one I found years ago in Waitrose’s Food Illustrated, which remains one of the most inspirational food mags around.

  • 75g rocket leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50g walnut halves
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 180ml extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Whizz leaves, garlic, walnuts, parmesan and lemon in a blender, then add the oil a little at a time until you get the consistency you want. Check seasoning and keep in a sealed jar in the fridge until you need it.

For four people, cook 500g penne or other chunky pasta until al dente. Drain and stir through the pesto and a good handful of fresh rocket leaves. Top with toasted walnut pieces and roasted cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of sea salt.

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