Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Pistachio pesto

Writing a book, travelling to research it and studying for a cooking diploma have kept me away from both the kitchen and this blog of late. And now all of those things have conspired to lead me into a financial cul-de-sac… skint, brasic, penniless. However you want to put it I’m now having to be extra frugal in the kitchen, but I’ll be dammed if that’s going to stop me eating tasty food. In fact it’s making me be a lot more creative. Faced last night with a stub of grana padano, some parsley and a lemon, I decided to add a few extra ingredients to make a tasty pesto. Since my dreaded pine mouth experience of winter 2010, I’ve avoided pine nuts with my trademark hypochondriac precision as the infliction left me unable to taste food or drink without an acrid, bitter taste for two weeks, which is more than this food writer’s nerves can take. So I thought I’d take my lead from the Sicilians who use pistachio in pesto as well as pine nuts and the result was extra creamy and delicious, I also like a little zing and spikiness so lemon zest and chilli flakes have been added, but they’re not essential. This is left-over store-cupboard fodder at its frugal finest. In your face flagging bank balance!

50g shelled pistachio
28g pack of fresh basil
handful flat leaf parsley
30g grana padano
zest of 1 lemon
pinch chilli flakes
olive oil

  1. Add all the ingredients except the oil to a food processor and blitz until the pistachios have broken down but some are still a bit chunky – scrape down the sides with a spatula as you go to make sure it is evenly blitzed. Then, with the food processor still running drizzle in about 100ml of olive oil or 2 big glugs.
  2. When cooking your pasta add a couple of tablespoons of the starchy cooking water to loosen your pesto and serve stirred into pasta and topped with shavings of grana padano.