Anything that is destined for pasta is likely to rate highly in my book - and I do love traditional pesto. It’s not something I make often, mainly because in order to afford proper, decent pine nuts, you need to sell all your earthly possessions and remortgage your house, which leaves with you no blender to make the pesto, or saucepan to cook the pasta in. Thankfully it’s wild garlic season and I’ve got a load of hazelnuts in the cupboard, for a quick, easy and super punchy pesto.
Pesto is also a great freezer stock item to have - a little goes a long way, so you can make a decent size batch and be well-pestoed for the rest of the year until wild garlic comes back into season again! If you have wild garlic growing nearby then this is a real penny pincher of a recipe. If not, you can find some at your local farmers market, or like we did, rescue some surplus stock via the wonderful people of Oddbox.
As well slathering it liberally onto pasta, it’s great in sandwiches, roasted vegetables, eggs, canapés, or swirled through soft cheese to make a dip. It’s not something I tend to measure when I make it, I just throw in the ingredients, blitz and then adjust to taste! When I made this batch, it yielded enough for 4 x 250ml containers (3-4 portions each). The cheese is optional - without it’s vegan, and still delicious.
To make: wash your wild garlic (2 large bunches), toast a handful of hazelnuts (30-40g) and roughly chop a chunk of parmesan the size of a baby’s fist (if using). Roughly chop the wild garlic and a small bunch of chives. Place into a blender (nutribullet works well), with the nuts, cheese a good crack of pepper and pinch of flaked sea salt. Add 60-80ml of cold-pressed rapeseed oil and blitz to a puree. You can add more oil if needed to get the right consistency. Stop the blender when it’s 3/4 done to check the seasoning and adjust before the final blitz. Separate into containers and store - in the fridge for 2 weeks, in the freezer for months!