Monday, 11 April 2011

It Was A Pesto Recovery.

In the end it had to be homemade pesto pasta. Mainly due to what was, or wasn’t in the fridge and the fact that it was Sunday and all the shops in France are well and truly shut on a Sunday.

The pasta definitely did the job and I felt one hundred percent better and healthier. Lots of fragrant basil, the healing oils of garlic, some toasted pinenuts and the cleansing properties of freshly squeezed lemon juice. All perfectly bundled into a steaming bowl of al-dente carbohydrates.

And I’m on top of the world again.

I really wondered about putting this one in though as a recipe. You’ve probably all made it before and it is just pesto. It’s a shame that I think that about such a simple and yet such an amazing recipe. I guess It’s from past lazy, rushed meals and the jar of shop bought stuff making the odd appearence (who me? Never).

But the homemade version is always a revelation and I think you should all try it for the simple, up-lifting experience of it!

Its cheap, its easy and its healthy, need anymore excuses? Here goes;

For 5-8 people you will need;

500g pack spaghetti or more depending on the hunger vibes your getting
Large pan of boiling salted water
A good sized bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked from the stems. We’re talking like a small posy. The smell will have you won over already.
2 good sized cloves of garlic, skins removed and sliced
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
50g lightly toasted pinenuts
100 g grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino
150ml olive oil to start with
Salt and pepper

Just to let you know that these amounts are really just a guide line. You can make your pesto more lemony or more nutty. You really can’t go wrong so play around with it to your liking.


  • Whilst you have a large pan of water on to boil make your pesto. When the water comes to the boil add, roughly, a tbsp of salt to a litre of water. Don’t be shy.

  • Put the basil leaves, garlic, lemon zest and juice, pinenuts, parmesan and the oil into a food blender and whizz till it’s all combined. It shouldn’t be too pureed; a bit of texture is nice. If you only have a hand blender then that will work fine.

  • Season with a little salt and a good grinding of pepper remembering that the parmesan can be salty. Add more olive oil if it needs to be loosened.

  • Taste and adjust the flavours as you wish.

  • When the spaghetti is ready, strain it but keep roughly 3 tbsp of the pasta water to mix in with the pesto.

  • Tip the pasta back into the pan and add the pesto and pasta water. Stir to combine and serve with lots of salad and some nice crusty bread.

  • And there end’eth your hangover.

You can use walnuts if you wish to really boost the health benefits. I have a nut allergy on board so I stick to the pinenuts. Also if you don’t like the idea of so much raw garlic (maybe you have a date), then you could roast the whole cloves in their skins in the oven which makes the garlic a little sweeter before adding to your pesto.

We’re going out for our first trial-sail of the year tomorrow. Very exciting. I hope I remember how to do it and which bits of rope to pull and when. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck and see you soon.