When I was a student, I lived with four other girls. We bonded the first day we met, over a bottle of cheap Cava while watching Neighbours.
Like most students, we developed less than nutritious eating habits, and the staple meal – which featured at least twice a week, if not four times – was pesto pasta.
Returning home after a weekend visit to catch up with one of my old housemates, and with nostalgic memories swimming round my head, I was craving a bit of the old student days. I wanted pesto… something.
I had a bunch of coriander and some rocket that needed a bit of attention, so I set to work mixing up a batch of the sauce. While basil is the better known base for this Italian classic, most leafy herbs work well.
With a few other ingredients and a blitz in a food processor, it has to be the easiest and quickest sauce to make for coating, drizzling, dipping or spreading.
Having gradually reduced my intake of gluten recently, I’ve swapped pasta for spiralised courgette (or courgetti) as a base on which to drizzle, or more likely in my case, laddle sauce. Much lighter, it’s still filling, has a sweetness and freshness to it and absorbs flavour.
My supper was delicious – and I shall be passing on the modified pesto recipe to my old uni friends. After all, while our tastes have changed over the years (food, TV programmes, and choice of celebratory fizz included), our friendship remains just as strong.
This one is for you girls!
Coriander and rocket pesto – serves 4
1 Large handful of coriander
1 Small handful of rocket
2 Garlic cloves – peeled
50g toasted pine nuts
1 handful (approx. 75g) of Parmesan, roughly chopped or grated – however this can be omitted if you’re making a vegan alternative
80ml Olive oil – add more if needed
a squeeze of Lemon juice – to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
Toast the pine nuts in a hot dry frying pan till they start to turn a darker shade in colour.
Blitz the coriander, rocket, garlic, toasted nuts and Parmesan in a food processor. Blitz again, adding the olive oil in stages, and adjust quantity if required.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle over spiralised courgette (or pasta) and enjoy on it’s own, or with extra toppings. I added some pan-fried asparagus, a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a sprinkling of Parmesan to mine.
This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and freezes well, so make it in batches for an easy and quick supper rescue, after a long day.