As I sit down to write this I am filled with a sense of impending dread. It’s been a long summer, autumn and then winter since this corner of the internet received any attention from my keyboard.
Unfortunately I have no grand excuses for this misdemeanor. Only a guilty shrug of acceptance that I caved to the artistic stereotype; in that I became completely and utterly distracted with other projects. Us artists, we are fickle creatures… but our flaws aside, we never fail to return to our first creative loves, and, for me, that will always be cooking.
There is never a final year, student problem that could not served with the humblest of adolescent culinary dishes, pesto pasta. It was the first meal most people under the age of 25 cooked for themselves, and it is a failsafe; a comfort dish when we are weeping over ring-binders and water bills.
This pesto is simple. I’ve included measurements for peace of mind more than anything because it really doesn’t require any. Play it by eye and mix it up depending on what you have available. This recipe should be one for using up the odds and ends of your kitchen cupboards on a Thursday evening.
100g of sunflower seeds (These should really be pine nuts, but I’ve opted for the slightly-less bankrupting option here. By all means sub for whatever your cupboards contain in the nut department, walnuts work well, so do cashews but steer clear of pecans and hazelnuts, save them for puddings and porridge).
2 large handful of fresh basil leaves (coriander or parsley also work here if you’re looking for a substitute).
a clove of garlic, crushed
the juice of half a lemon
2 large handfuls of rocket
salt and pepper
- Toast your nuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until they’ve started to brown. Then simple toss everything into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth-ish.
- I warm my pesto with the drained pasta in a saucepan over a low heat for a couple of moments, but that’s total personal preference. Then simply serve. If you’re looking for variations on the pesto theme, pop some halved cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, or whatever leftover veg you have available into a preheated oven for 20 minutes or so. Then stir that through to flesh out the dish into a proper meal.