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Pesto for Easy Pasta, Soup, Bread, and Salad Recipes
Traditional Basil Pesto
Pesto Recipe Variations
Pesto is everywhere these days! You can buy all kinds of different types off your supermarket shelves, in classy restaurants, and unfortunately there are those pasta microwave meals.
Classic pesto consists of Basil, Olive Oil, Parmesan, Garlic and Pine Nuts; pounded with a Pestle and Mortar into a fine paste. You can use a blender or like me chop everything finely by hand!
Classic and traditional Italian at it's best! There is so much more you can do with these versatile ingredients than just stir them into some pasta and there are many, many improvisations to be explored...
Parsley, Corriander, Tarragon, Sorrell, Rocket, Chives... Or mix a few!
Olives, Sundried Tomatoes, Capers, Peppers, Chilli, Mushrooms...
Almonds, Walnuts (Delicious), Cashew Nuts, or you could miss out Pine Nuts completely!
Wholegrain Mustard, Miso paste, Rapeseed Oil...
Peccorino is an excellent Cheap substitute but most cheeses will work, even finely grated Cheddar! If using blue or crumbly ensure the cheese is finely broken up!
Nearly all of the classic ingredients are cheap, apart from Pine Nuts which can be very costly for just a small amount. To me however these are an optional ingredient. The Fresh herbs, Oil, Cheese (if you use the right types) and Garlic can all come to as little as £1.86 ($3.03) to serve 2 generously!
There is literally nothing stopping you from making Pesto! You can even store it in a jar in the fridge for a week or so for later use!
You can mix a good amount of pesto with hot pasta, you can cut diagonal grooves into a baguette and slather in the pesto before baking for 10 minutes to make a variation on classic Garlic Bread, you can put a dollop into your soup, stir it into sauces for some added freshness, add to your meat when mixing meatballs, use as a garnish for burgers or steak, add some white wine or cider vinegar in a jar and shake for a salad dressing... this list is endless!
Pesto Pasta (Macaroni)...
Matts Sundried Tomato Pesto Recipe
This really is a Cheap, Healthy and quick to make meal. Above all it is simply delicious!
Ingredients (Prices are based on amount used and not total unit price)
- 25g Fresh Basil Leaves, £0.50p
- 1 Clove Garlic, £0.04p
- 3 Sundried Tomatoes, £0.010p
- 30g Parmesan (or Peccorino), £0.40p
- 200g Macaroni, £0.30p
- Pinch Salt and Pepper, £0.01p
- 40ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil, £0.15p
Please rate once you have tried!
Add a tsp of Olive Oil into your pasta water and stir after the pasta has gone in. This stops the pasta sticking together!
Make sure you have the right tools in your kitchen...
Step by step...
- Heat some water in a pan, adding the dried Macaroni when the water begins to boil. Remember the proverb - Pasta water should be saltier than the Mediterranean. Depending on how you like your pasta you should cook for 9 minutes for al dente and 12 minutes for well done.
- While the pasta is on, make your pesto. First make sure that you pull all of the leaves off the basil, putting the stalks to one side. (Since there is little or no cooking involved the stalks will be too tough and stringy in the final sauce)
- Place your 3 Sundried Tomatoes on top of your Basil and with a sharp knife start chopping very finely. This could take up to 3 or 4 Minutes.
- Grate the entire Garlic clove as finely as possible and add to the chopped mix raw.
- Once chopped and mixed pile your ingredients into a small bowl and add all of the Oil, followed by Salt and Pepper to taste (I use two good pinches of each).
- Now mix in the Parmesan in 3 batches, each time stir vigorously with a fork until it is all mixed together. Add more Olive Oil if it looks at all dry.
- Once ready, drain your pasta and mix thoroughly with all of the pesto. Add a drizzle more of Olive oil and another good sprinkling of Parmesan to serve. (Try garnishing with a few basil leaves, this is purely aesthetic).
Enjoy your Sundried Tomato Pesto!
Notice how I didn't use those expensive nuts!? That is how versatile the recipe is, mix and match your own and see how easy it is to make something unique and delicious. There literally are hundreds of potential variations and uses!
The Cheese, Olive Oil and tomato juices will melt and mingle with the heat of the pasta when put together to create a rich, spicy and at the same time light and Moorish Sauce. The basil and Garlic add a wonderful streak of aromatic freshness to it all.
You really can use this for a quick dinner or impress a date with this recipe, it is simple, versatile and very impressive for those who don't know how easy it is!
You can make the Pesto a week before and really cut down on the cooking time if you like. Just spoon into an old jam jar and ensure the pesto is fully covered in olive oil, you will need to top it up in the jar.
Let me know what you get up to with your pesto!