Entries in pesto (4)


cavolo nero pesto


i’m a woman with an obsession. each week i pick up a bunch or two of cavolo nero and work it into our meals at every opportunity – most recently we had roast chicken, with a lovely caramelised onion and cavolo nero pilaf.

however, things caught up with me this weekend – i’ve been under the weather for ages (an endless cold, which is finally on its way) and a week of lazy food left me with an excess of cavolo nero that was almost past its best. my friend helen came to the rescue, reminding me of skye gyngell’s cavolo nero pesto recipe, which she’d tried and loved last year.

it’s an interesting pesto, relying on butter rather than oil for its richness (although there is a bit of oil in there), plus anchovies as well as the more usual garlic and parmesan. it tastes wonderful and i was instantly sad i’d not made it in time to ease a little under the skin of my chicken, before it roasted.  

this week it’ll be tossed with pasta (plus an extra handful of cavolo nero which will be added to the pasta water a few minutes before it is ready) and i want to try mixing it with crushed beans to make a bruschetta inspired by one i ate in italy, several years ago.

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asparagus with scallops and nduja

my first british asparagus of the year! i wasn’t expecting to see asparagus in the shops just yet but when i spotted it i could resist, despite the crazy price.

this meal was a decadent moment – david is not a fan of scallops and quickly gets bored of asparagus (i like to try and eat it most days when its in season) so this was the perfect choice when i had a quiet evening home alone.

i fried a nub of nduja (a soft spicy italian salami, v similar to a picante chorizo in flavour - you could use chorizo or pancetta in its place) in a little olive oil, added the scallops and after a minute on each side squeezed in the juice of a lemon. i poured all of this over the cooked asparagus and added some fresh pesto to finish things off. add a glass of italian rose wine and i had a lovely light but indulgent supper.


thousand layer lasagne

the starter for my meal with friends was these individual thousand layer lasagne’s which i made using my wild garlic, walnut and asparagus pesto.

the original recipe is one which i book-marked years ago and involves making wafer-thin sheets of lasagne (i made my own but heidi’s recipe gives a cheat option) and layering this with a sauce (i used the pesto mixed with some ricotta cheese) and sprinklings of mozzarella.

having created a lasagne with ten layers of pasta i topped each one with a tablespoon of crème fraiche and a slice of mozzarella before baking until brown and bubbling.

the resulting dish was not what i expected – the lasagne sheets were unidentifiable as distinct elements of the dish and it was very like eating a garlicky cheese soufflé (this was a very cheesy dish – i used 250g of ricotta and three balls of mozzarella between the six of us!).it was delicious but i remain curious about the original dish and will have to try a tomato version with less cheese, i think.

we ate the lasagnes (which turned out of their dishes easily as i’d rubbed them with oil before assembling) with a balsamic-dressed salad of mixed leaves. i made the lasagnes in advance and froze them, defrosting and bringing back to room temperature before cooking.

i'm sharing this recipe with ruth at once upon a feast who is hosting this week's presto pasta nights!


double carbs: ligurian linguine 


over the years i’ve seen many recipes for pasta (usually trofie, a ligurian pasta) with pesto (another ligurian speciality), potatoes and green beans.

they’ve never really appealed to me – partly thanks to memories of student meals compromising little more than pasta and pesto and partly due to my lack of interest in potatoes.

for some reason though, i decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. the potato is very thinly sliced and treated as another vegetable rather than as a filling carbohydrate. this allowed it to shine (use jersey royals for extra flavour) and i loved the contrast of textures that it created in the dish. the combination of flavours also works wonderfully well.

i didn’t actually use pesto in this recipe, sticking to homemade basil oil and adding the parmesan and pine nuts separately. i think this works particularly well as the toasted pine nuts are nice as a separate ingredient.

the recipe below is for 4 but i only did pasta for two and took the extra bean and potato mix as a packed lunch which was delicious eaten at room temperature. next time i make this i will try it with trofie (i quite fancy making my own) so it is a little more authentic.

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