This unaccustomed spell of hot weather has my basil plants growing like they’re in Italy. And with Adam and Nova both away, I had another good reason to make Lyra’s all-time favourite supper of pesto pasta.
Fresh pesto is so much nicer than the stuff in jars, and takes only a few minutes to make. I don’t bother measuring the ingredients. If I don’t have pinenuts, I’ll use almonds or hazelnuts, and am equally happy with pecorino or parmesan cheese.
The quantities below should make enough pesto for a pasta dinner for four. If you have pesto left over, store it in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil poured over the surface to keep it from oxidising.
- 400g pasta (I usually go with linguine or fusilli)
- 1/2 Tb salt
- 1 large bunch of basil (about 2 packed cups of leaves)
- 1 large garlic clove
- a handful of pinenuts
- a good pinch of salt
- about 1/4 cup of olive oil
- about a 1/4 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated
- Fill a large pot with water, add 1/2 a Tb of salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and stir to prevent it from sticking.
- In the meantime, strip the basil leaves from their stalks. Place in a mini-chopper with the garlic and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pulse it all together, then add olive oil until the sauce reaches the right consistency (loose but not runny).
- Stir in the cheese by hand, then adjust the balance of flavours to your liking.
- When the pasta is ready, drain it into a colander and return to the pot. Add a few good dollops of pesto and stir well, until the pasta is evenly coated.
- Top with additional grated cheese and serve.