Oh Pesto you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, Hey Pesto!
Hey Pesto! ?
(You totally read that whilst singing in your head didn’t you? Don’t let me stop you, perhaps you should play this whilst reading the rest of this post. ?)
There is something about pesto isn’t there? Stirred through pasta, dipped into with crusty Ciabatta bread, dolloped over salads…. I’m making myself so hungry right now.
It really is one of those versatile, you-can-do-anything-with-me kinda sauces and the variations out there are endless: kale pesto, sun-dried tomato Pesto, this broccoli pesto (made by yours truly), rosemary pesto, you name it it has been done.
It is an amazing sauce/dip/marinade and, as long as you follow the basic Pesto formula, you’re never going to make a dull one:
- Choose a herb/ green vegetable (or other colour if you’re feeling particularly adventurous)
- Pick You nuts/ Seeds: Stay authentic with the classic pine nuts or go Nutty (see what I did there?) with pistachios, sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds (Oh, and as I’m writing this, I’ve just thought of another way to satisfy my cashew nut obsession.)
- Pick Your cheese: A hard, strong flavoured cheese like parmesan is ideal but why conform to the norm, am I right?
For this Pesto I have chosen sage. It’s a little out there, I know, but I have my reasons…
I love growing my own herbs and at this time of year you can find me planting, sowing and watering new herbs ready for the summer growing season.
There is a slight problem. I don’t have the greenest of fingers. I try to nurture my plants as much as possible but I think there comes a point where I nurture them just a little too much. I don’t do it intentionally but I think I shower them with so much love it kills them. I’m like the kid in school who would hug the class Hamster too tightly (“I love you Cecil!” Squish! )
I don’t know if I over water them or what but my track record with herbs is not the best. Seeing as many herb varieties, like mint and rosemary, flourish like the wildest of weeds this really doesn’;t say much for any future endeavours in professional horticulture for me.
Thankfully I have the Paramedic, an individual with fingers slightly greener than mine. He has a little more success and can help me maintain the herbs with.
However, for me, last year was a particularly dismal attempt. None of my seeds turned into plants.
Except One: Sage
And now, a year later, I have what can only be described as a Sage bush. It has gown to such a size and I feel I really should do something with it. To be honest, I don’t use sage that much. It’s never been high on my list of herbs save for the occasional roast chicken recipe.
But this week is Sage Week. I am broadening my Sage-infused horizons and I’m inviting you to come along with me.
Sage is bitter to taste and is usually best when cooked. I initially made this pesto with only sage and it was so bitter my teeth were smarting for some time after taste testing. It also had a dark, sludge-like green colour that was far from appetising.
It took a little tweaking an experimentation – always a tough job – but I found using equal amounts of sage and the traditional Basil made this recipe just right.
It has a strong sage-y flavour and does retain some bitterness so I wouldn’t suggest using this pesto for a pasta dish. But as an accompaniment to a meal with some sweetness such as a salad or wraps with figs, grapes or apples then this pesto would be an amazing pairing.
Or, mix it together with shredded apple and some breadcrumbs and – Voila! – and tasty stuffing for roast chicken. It would also make an ideal marinade for meat heading for the BBQ.
I should also note that, as I write this post, I am eating the pesto on crackers with Brie and a slither of quince paste. It’s pretty amazing.
Sage & Walnut Pesto
Prep Time: 10 mins || Makes: 1 Cup
- 1 Cup of Fresh Sage Leaves
- 1 Cup of Fresh Basil Leaves
- 2 – 4 garlic cloves
- 50g Walnuts
- 80g Strong flavoured cheese such as Parmesan
- 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Olive oil (depending on your desired consistency)
- This has to be one of the easiest recipes to make. Simply thrown everything into a food processor or blender (or, if you really have the muscle power, a pestle and mortar) and blitz until a paste is formed.
- Add more olive oil if you desire a smoother consistency.