spaghetti al pesto

Home made pesto is so infinitely superior to the store-bought jars, it’s a totally different beast. This authentic Italian recipe is one of the easiest, quickest, and most delicious sauces for pasta. All you do is stick the pasta on and put the pesto ingredients in a food processor, although pesto is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. The first time I had this wasn’t with my Italian family, it was in an Italian restaurant in Hamburg when I was a teenager and I vividly remember thinking it was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten and it’s perfect for a date night.

Recipe

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1 large bunch of fresh basil
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 small handful of pine nuts
1 cup of freshly grated quality parmesan
6 tablespoons of olive oil
500g spaghetti

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How:
Put the basil and garlic into a food processor or mortar and pestle. (If you haven’t got these, you can just chop the ingredients together very finely until they have a thick saucy consistency, but this takes longer).
Add the pine nuts, grated parmesan, and the olive oil. Blend to a smooth thick paste.
Add some salt and pepper and set it aside.
Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet, in salted water.
Drain the pasta, and add the pesto and toss through with two forks.
Serve with grated parmesan, some torn basil and black pepper.

lastly..the Italians do not toast the pine nuts for this recipe..they should be raw and buy good quality ones. If you are going down the vegan route then you can use vegan Parmesan which is sold in health food stores. I found a vegan one which is shaped just like a wedge of proper Parmesan called Prosociano by Violife. It’s made with coconut oil and it’s soya and gluten free.

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