Pesto pronto

PESTOSUMMER is the time to make punchy pesto which can be served with pasta, kebabs, meat and fish. Here are two recipies.

CALABRIAN PESTO:

Serves six with pasta

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 large red pepper, halved, de-seeded and diced

½ small onion, very finely chopped

50g aubergine, diced

1 plum tomato, halved, de-seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

generous pinch of dried chilli flakes

60g ricotta cheese

40g blanched almonds

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

10g basil, leaves only

METHOD:

Heat the oil in a frying-pan over a medium-high heat. Add the pepper and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly caramelised – it takes about 10 minutes. Add the aubergine and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the tomato, garlic and chilli flakes, and cook, stirring, for a further five or so minutes, until soft.

Scrape everything into a food processor with the ricotta, almonds, extra-virgin olive oil and some seasoning, and purée. Add the basil (if serving immediately) and pulse/blend. Check the seasoning.

If you are making this ahead (it still tastes great after a few days), transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and store in the fridge.

Add the basil, finely chopped, just before serving.

ROCKET PESTO:

Serves six with pasta

INGREDIENTS:

50g rocket

15g parsley

60g toasted pine nuts

135ml extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

30g pecorino, finely grated

METHOD:

Put everything into a food processor, with some seasoning, and whizz to a purée. Check the seasoning, then transfer to a bowl and pour a layer of olive oil on top.

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