Pesto pronto

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


Serves six with pasta


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


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.


Serves six with pasta


50g rocket

15g parsley

60g toasted pine nuts

135ml extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

30g pecorino, finely grated


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.