Penny Pinching Pesto

We’ve been making pesto. Great with any pasta, a fantastic addition to any sauce or salad.

It may be easier to pick a jar off the shelf, but do you realise that the mark up on pesto is huge? We can make this for pennies, but we saw a fresh pot of pesto for £2 recently.

Well we are all about economy as well as great recipes here at Healthy Teacher Toolkit HQ..

Something else that will appeal. We throw away about 45% of salad ingredients that we buy in this country. We have been turning our slightly wilted leaves into some interesting concoctions lately.

Pesto traditionally is a basil based dish  originating from Genoa. It consists of basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and hard cheese, but the name pesto originates from the use of the pestle and mortar.

There is a French dish called pistou with the same origins. So basically we are looking at anything that is pounded. We’ve been using the food processor which is ideal for saving time and for making up a sizable portion.

‘He’s a Pesto Wizard, there has to be a twist’.

Several twists in fact. For each recipe, the garlic and salt are constant, as is the oil. Olive oil is traditional, but rapeseed oil is increasingly being regarded as a healthy alternative. The emphasis is on a more ‘rustic’ approach here, so don’t be shy about adding more of some ingredients, or removing those you don’t like.

For each, add the ingredients, except the oil, to the food processor; blitz, then drizzle in the oil gradually and pulse the processor until you reach your desired consistency.

Sundried Tomato Pesto

This came about from finding a few sundried tomatoes in a jar. Nothing wrong with them, just a way to free up some fridge space.

Ingredients:

  • A handful of basil leaves.
  • A handful of rocket leaves.
  • 2 peeled gloves of garlic.
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (we used sea salt, but table salt is fine).
  • 12 sundried tomatoes.
  • A big spoonful of grated hard cheese (parmesan, pecorino or something similar).
  • 50g pine nuts.
  • Glug of olive oil or rapeseed oil.

The sundried tomatoes give a nice fleck of colour and some tanginess from the preserving oil. Great stirred through a pasta.

 

Spinach Pesto

20150808_122743

Ingredients:

  • A handful of basil leaves.
  • 200g of baby spinach leaves.
  • 2 peeled gloves of garlic.
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • A big spoonful of grated hard cheese 50g pine nuts.
  • Glug of olive oil or rapeseed oil.

This was blitzed very fine and was used as a filling for spinach and feta parcels, but again this is equally at home with any pasta for a quick supper.

 

Beetroot Pesto

20150809_140720

Ok this one is a bit left field. We love beetroot, and wanted to find another way of using it.

Ingredients:

  • A handful of basil leaves.
  • A handful of rocket leaves.
  • 2 peeled gloves of garlic.
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (we used sea salt, but table salt is fine).
  • One cooked beetroot, cut into slices.
  • A big spoonful of grated hard cheese.
  • 50g pine nuts.
  • Glug of olive oil or rapeseed oil.

For this one we had to experiment with the cheese, adding a little more to make the flavour a little more robust.That’s the thing with pesto. It is all down to personal taste! A spoonful of balsalmic or red wine vinegar would help this along nicely too.

There are plenty more options! Don’t throw away those slightly wiltedbags of salad! Use them up this way!

 

 

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