Everyone knows that pesto and pasta is a classic combination. Whether we’re eating it as a weeknight dinner or serving it up as a simple dish over the weekend, it’s one food that we all love to make. The flavours in pesto itself are always so delicious, refreshing and vibrant, and make the perfect addition to any meal. I really love the way that such a simple combination of ingredients like lemon, olive oil, garlic and fresh basil can merge together and transform into a sauce that’s simply mouthwatering.
With the tang and strength of lemon and garlic, toasted pine nuts always provide a nice mellow and classic taste within a pesto. But, with my recipe, I like to take this further and add in some nutritional yeast flakes to really balance out the flavours. Then, enhancing the overall taste of dish, I always add in some sea salt and black pepper.
Creating the recipe, I like to toast the pine nuts first, and quickly blitz all of the other ingredients separately to break them down. Then, I add in the pine nuts, and blitz them all together again to create a chunkier pesto. Doing this enables it to lightly cover the pasta, and add a subtly crunchy texture to the dish from the pine nuts. After this, everything is done! It’s such a quick thing to make. Of course, I love to serve this with pasta, but feel free to use this recipe with any other food you like to serve pesto with!
for the pesto:
1 cup (50g) fresh basil
1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts
2 small or 1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
generous grind of black pepper
for the pasta:
2 1/2 cups (225g) pasta – I used brown rice penne
1. Firstly, cook the pasta following the instructions on its packaging.
2. Then, while the pasta cooks, prepare the pesto. Add the basil, garlic, yeast flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor/chopper. Quickly blitz all of the ingredients together, until the basil appears finely/roughly chopped. Set this aside, and toast the pine nuts.
3. Add the pine nuts into a pan and place onto a medium heat. Toss and stir them around the pan for about 30 seconds – 1 minute until lightly toasted. When this is done, remove the pine nuts from the heat, and add them into the food processor. Blitz all of the ingredients together, for about 30 seconds or so, until you’ve reached your desired consistency. You may need to stop and scrape some of the ingredients down from the sides of the food processor a couple of times. Then, set aside when this is done.
4. When the pasta has then cooked, remove it from the heat, drain, and move it into a large mixing bowl. Then, remove the pesto from the food processor and pour it on top of the pasta. Stir the pesto into the pasta until evenly covered, divide onto plates, then top with some ground black pepper and serve.