It's been a while but I've finally got the spiralizer back out of the cupboard! We have had an abundance of herbs delivered by one of our very generous clients today, and I decided to use them in my favourite way: pesto. Using courgette instead of pasta is great if you're cutting out gluten from your diet, or even if you just fancy a lighter alternative to the Italian staple. If you don't have a spiralizer, you can create flat courgette noodles by using a vegetable peeler and just peeling off strips off the courgette. The mint, almond and sun-dried tomato pesto might seem quite thick, but as you start to combine it with the courgette, moisture is released from the vegetable so you don't want the mint, almond and sun-dried tomato pesto any runnier or it'll become too wet. In this vein, it's important to dress the courgettes noodles just before serving as it doesn't keep well at all and if it sits for too long, you will end up with a pile of water at the bottom of your bowl!
For a more substantial dish, the pesto works wonderfully served hot with real spaghetti. I would use 300g spaghetti for this amount of pesto, and combine it with around 400ml of the cooking water from the pasta to loosen up the sauce a bit. For some greens, 300g peas instead of the tomatoes is always a winner with pesto and pasta.
Finally, feel free to play around with the ingredients. Pesto is a great way to use up any herbs you have lying around, and you could use any nut or seed (instead of almonds) and any citrus fruit (instead of lemon). For an Asian twist, you could use peanuts, coriander and lime, like in this quinoa recipe.
Serves 4 hungry people
For the pesto:
60g sun-dried tomatoes (or 40g dried, re-hydrated with hot water and then drained after 20 minutes)
Zest (2 tsp) and juice (75 ml) of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic
90g extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
For the rest:
300g cherry tomatoes
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C. When hot, toast the almonds on a baking tray for 10 minutes and then remove.
- Whilst the almonds are toasting in the oven, it's time to spiralize! 1200g courgette makes around 900g of courgette noodles (or 'courgetti'), but hang on to the discarded bits- you can thrown them in a soup or grate them in to a salad.
- To make the pesto, simply blend all the ingredients in the food processor, wiping down the sides regularly. It takes a while to grind the almonds to a smooth paste so be patient.
- Chop the tomatoes in to quarters, and roughly chop the extra mint. Combine it all (with your hands!) in a big bowl until everything is incorporated. Enjoy!