Pesto pasta- the veritable mainstay of my teenage hood as a vegetarian with a terrible cook for a mother. Quick, satisfying and comforting I still adore it now; albeit in a slightly more refined guise. The wonderful thing about making your own pesto is you have full poetic licence with your ingredients– within the restraints of pesto’s main components. You may pick the herb/foliage, nut, oil, cheese and acid to your liking, with just a little trusty garlic and salt thrown in for good measure.
In the bleak mid winter when few are far between, I give the hefty title of garden king to the wonder-food kale. It’s in season for most of the year and mighty good for you too, so we all get bonus points for that.
Combined with the earthiness from the walnut, this is really a winter winner. Nestled among extensive accolades of wonderful health benefits, both walnuts and kale both promote sleep. Winter is after all the time for nature (and us) to rest and hibernate, and for the part–time insomniac, I appreciate both of these ingredients, especially together.
- 85g walnut, toasted
- 85g parmesan (or vegetarian equivalent)
- 75ml olive oil
- 85g kale, centre stems removed
- 15g basil (optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Juice 1 lemon (I like to use zest and all)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Using a food processor, hand blender or if you’re really old school, then a pestle and motar, whiz the walnuts, oil, garlic, kale and lemon. If you need to loosen the mixture, add a little more oil. Add the cheese, then add salt and pepper to your taste. You can store it in the fridge for up to a week. Perfect for pasta, risottos, soups… I like to smudge it on hot toast.