This vibrant pesto packs a huge flavour punch loaded with wild garlic and basil as well as gruyere and mature cheddar cheese.
Wild garlic is normally easy to find in our woodlands – you can generally smell it before you see it! – from March through to June. However, in these times of COVID 19 lockdown, I have been unable to go foraging when I walk the dog. At the moment we are unable to let our dog off the lead when walking her in our local parks or Common. Instead we walk the dog at my husband’s golf club. It is open for walkers; the actual club house is closed and you cannot play golf but you can walk the course and take your dog. As it is private land, dogs can run free, there are very few people and the views are glorious. We are very lucky. The only downside is that there is definitely no wild garlic! Fortunately, it was available in Ocado, the on-line shopping company I am using at the moment. On the plus side, I did pick the little, wild white flowers in the photograph.
Pestos are remarkably easy to make and very adaptable. For example:
Try them in panini, such as with cheese and tomato for example
Spread onto hot toast and top with scrambled egg, avocado and chopped tomato for brunch
Stir into soups e.g. minestrone for extra flavour
Stir through hot pasta for a quick meal – you could also grilled bacon and/or add some fresh or semi-dried tomatoes or roast peppers. (See photograph below.)
Stir into cold pasta and add some extra vegetables such as peppers/capsicum, cucumber, fresh tomatoes, spring onions, avocado, celery, rocket, fresh basil for a pasta salad
cook in some puff pastry with mozzarella cheese and fresh or sun-dried tomatoes. (Also see photographs below.)
To make your pesto, you simply need to:
toast the pinenuts
put half the olive oil and salt and all remaining ingredients into the food processor and blitz until pureed
add remixing olive oil and blitz again
taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
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40g mature cheddar cheese, chopped into small cubes
40g Gruyere cheese, chopped into small cubes
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon fine salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Collect together your equipment (see Recipe Notes below) and ingredients.
Heat the frying pan over a moderately hot temperature and add the pine nuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are lightly browned.
Now putall the ingredients and half of the olive oil and salt into a food processor and process until thoroughly mixed and quite smooth. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides.
Add the remaining olive oil or, with the machine on, slowly drizzle the remaining oil through the pouring spout and process until thoroughly combined. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. You may need to add the remaining salt – this wil depend on the cheese, some are more salty than others
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.