Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Rocket and Brazil Nut Pesto

We waited weeks for the truly good growing conditions to arrive. A late frost gave us cause for concern and we thought for a few days that we’d lost the entire crop of potatoes - not to mention numerous salads.

Thankfully the sad looking leaves survived and thrived into lush green offerings. The rows of potatoes now stand tall and proud, a thick carpet of the distinctive green leaves cover half the garden like a layer of cloud.

Two lines of lettuce look perky and happy and we’ve already devoured three or four, one with a simple roast chicken with warm bread, some runny mayonnaise and freshly chopped lemon thyme.

The rocket is looking healthy as well: too healthy in fact. We returned after a couple of days away to find it reaching skyward in a manner that would please NASA. Thinking quickly we harvested as many of the oversize leaves as we could and pounded them along with some basil into a fresh, summery pesto.

Stirred into spaghetti it made a wonderful and very quick supper: fresh, peppery, warm with garlic and zingy with lemon. Sometimes a glut is a wonderful thing.

Spaghetti with rocket and brazil nut pesto

Although usually made with pine nuts, the Brazil nuts we found in the back of the cupboard proved to be an excellent substitute. The slightly creamy texture added a slight richness to the pesto.

Two large handfuls of rocket leaves, washed and dried
One handful of basil leaves
9-10 Brazil nuts
2 cloves of garlic
One lemon, zested and juiced
Olive oil
20g Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Chop the rocket and basil leaves enough to make them fit into a pestle and mortar. Pound the Brazil nuts into a coarse powder then add the garlic and a pinch of sea salt and pound some more. Add the lemon zest then the rocket and basil leaves and continue mashing with the pestle until it begins to look like pesto. Add the olive oil until it is a certifiable sauce then stir in the grated cheese.

Season with sea salt, black pepper and lemon juice and stir through warm spaghetti.

Photographs by @photolotte (flickr)

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meemalee said...

I wish I could get rocket to grow - I've tried but it clearly doesn't like me.

The only thing I've ever managed to rear is a chive plant. And by rear, I mean I leave it alone and it grows quite happily.

I do love rocket pesto though - shall try this for sure.

Ollie said...

Lovely. So summery. What's that very beautiful flower you've used as a garnish?

Hollow Legs said...

The pictures are stunning and have made my stomach rumble audibly. Brazil nuts is an inspired idea.

Just Cook It said...

Meemalee - Try a different variety, it is virtually a weed in italy so shouldn't be too hard!

Ollie - thanks. It's actually a rocket flower

Thanks Lizzie - I aim to please :0)

Anonymous said...

Very very nice, noted - I have been pesto experimenting lately - parsley and pistaccio is good too. The perky lettuce with roast chicken and mayonaise sounds like my kind of meal too.

Carolyn Jung said...

Oooh, Brazil nuts! I bet they make an especially fine, rich pesto. Definitely going to have to try this.

Xenia said...

The positive aspect to the rocket bolting/flowering is that the flowers are edible..

Hopie said...

Wow this pesto is brilliant too! I would never have thought of using brazil nuts but I bet the texture is lovely.

Venetia said...

Looks yummy! Always trying for new pesto ideas, and brazil nuts sound great.

Unknown said...

I was converted to rocket and pine nuts pesto a few weeks ago. Next time I'll try it with Brazil nuts. Thanks for the idea.

matt said...

fantastic mate. Great simple food - aimed slap bang at summer. I could eat bowls of this.

(love the roll of spag. presentation you have here too)

danthemackem said...

I've used rocket in pesto a few times and it's always turned out well. I've not used Brazil nuts however, I'll have to give 'em a try...

Nice pics by the way (as usual).

Helen said...

A gorgeous summery recipe but seriously, how the hell did you get pasta to look that good?!