Pasta is one of the dishes where I always say simple is best. And when it comes to sauces, we'll all agree that fresh is best. A few weeks ago I thought I could pack all the goodness of my rocket, cashew and chilli pesto into jars and make some other people happy, only to spend the an evening cleaning up the whole kitchen after one of them exploded in my hands. Nothing too serious, the glass stayed intact, it was the lid that rocketed (!) off like there was no tomorrow, and of course the pesto followed with hasty steps and seconds later was clinging onto everything around. The kitchen drawers (although they were firmly closed, the green lava managed to find its way in), the tiles, the stove, not to speak of yours truly, who needed a full body-scrub afterwards and was carrying around the scent of garlic, parmesan and basil for the days to follow.
So now, I DO NOT SHARE my pesto anymore. I just make it fresh on the day.
Although home-made pesto is an absolute lip-smacker, I have been shying away from making it at home for the longest time. The reason may be that for my firsts attempts a few years back, I used a rocker knife, you know, one that looks like that. Of course it took forever to go through a pot of basil, not to speak of all the rocket as well!
Nowadays, I use my Multiquick. And this makes me one happy bunny, because I can have the freshest pesto, even with the weirdest ingredients imaginable, in a matter of minutes. Stuff them in the blender, pulse them adding some olive oil, process to a smooth paste. If only the pasta didn't take so long to cook! ;-)
Rocket, cashew & chilli pesto
(serves 4 generously)
50 g cashews
1 medium garlic cloves
1/2 red chilli
40 g basil leaves
100 ml olive oil
50 g rocket salad
50 g parmesan
Toast the cashews, roasting them in a pan without any oil. When they're starting to turn brown, take off the heat, remove from the pan and leave to cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add the garlic and chop very finely. The heat of the nuts will almost caramelise the garlic, making it a bit sweeter. Transfer to a bowl. Chop the rocket, chilli and basil in the blender, then add to the nuts. Stir in the olive oil and the parmesan, processing everything into a smooth paste.
Serve with some freshly cooked pasta, adding more parmesan or oil as you see fit.