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Making pesto

Just recently, I’ve been making my own pesto.

It all started when my sister-in-law told me she whipped it up regularly. And when I looked at her, amazed, she told me that it really wasn’t very hard at all – particularly if you have a mini-chopper-type gadget to do the blending for you.

It’s made me realise that quite often, I dismiss an element of family cookery outright for being too difficult – when actually I’m just too tired to get my head around it. Or too weighed down with my internal to-do list and hubbub and noise of life with three children.

So since then, I’ve made pesto a few times. And you know what? She’s right – it’s really easy. It takes just five minutes, can you believe? Plus there’s something really very satisfying about blending basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese to a pulp in a mini-chopper.

I’ve also made it using a pestle and mortar, which takes longer and I don’t find quite as therapeutic.

But either way, as I’m sure you can guess, it’s far tastier and healthier than anything jarred. Plus it only has a smidge of salt, all fresh ingredients and no preservatives.

 

preparing the roasted vegetables

I was asked to make this to support ‘Eat for Goals!’ – a free interactive cookery app for kids, developed by the World Heart Federation with the support of UEFA.

Endorsed by the British Heart Foundation, the aim of the app is to encourage kids to cook and eat healthily in order to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. I’m all for it.

Football-mad kids will be in heaven: the app features recipes from 11 of the world’s leading male and female footballers, including Frank Lampard, Stephen Gerrard, Rachel Yankey, Yaya Touré and Cristiano Ronaldo.

You’ll find recipes for the players’ favourite dishes, including crunchy cod, fruit salad and Brazilian black bean stew. Each recipe is super-nutritious and, being designed for kids aged 7 plus, is complicated enough to stay interesting without being so hard that they can’t be bothered to try.

I thought the app was pretty easy to use. You can scroll through by recipe, or search by player (and also find out what they like to eat before or after a match.)

Alternatively, score a goal with the football game, and you’ll ‘win’ a recipe, which is a nice touch.

Whichever recipe your child chooses, the ingredients appear on the screen one by one, so you never get to see them as a list. However, as a mum, I did find this a bit frustrating when trying to quickly jot down a shopping list.

Recipe for pesto with pasta and grilled or roasted vegetables 

My middle daughter and I made the pasta with pesto and grilled or roasted vegetables. She was a whizz with all the veg chopping.

chopping up aubergine

But I have to say that I made the pesto without her, when I could be alone with my mini-chopper. Just me and the pulping.

The pesto pasta was delicious although of course the kids went all wobbly and refusenik about the roasted vegetables. (Sorry, Carles.) But it meant there was enough veg left for me to take to work for lunch the next day too.

roasted vegetables out of the oven

You can download Eat for Goals! for iPhone and iPad, and android here.

 

Carles Puyol’s recipe for pasta with pesto and grilled vegetables

Carles Puyol's pesto pasta with roasted vegetables

 

Serves 4

1 red onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 aubergine, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced and deseeded
1 tbsp olive oil
160g dried pasta
2 tbsp pesto

Spread the chopped vegetables onto a grill pan or flat roasting tray. Pour half the oil over them.

Stir so they are coated with oil, place under a grill or in an oven heated to 200°C and grill or roast, turning them a couple of times until soft.

In a large pan, cover the pasta with boiled water. Add some olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.

Give it a stir and boil depending on packet instructions. Drain the pasta in a colander.

Mix the pesto and grilled/ roasted vegetables with the cooked pasta. Serve.

Homemade pesto

Half clove garlic, chopped
1 handful of basil, stalks discarded
25g pine nuts
40 to 60ml of olive oil
25g Parmesan

Put the garlic and pine nuts into a mini-chopper or pestle and mortar and grind. Add the basil and repeat.

Add 40ml of oil. Taste, and adjust seasoning and add more olive oil as required. Stir into pasta

Enjoy!

 


Comments (23)

  • Avatar

    Polly

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    nothing beats homemade pesto!!!

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    lisa prince

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    looks lovely , i make veg meals like this every day , kids love it x

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    Vikki Holness

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    I’m such a plain Jane when it comes to food and rarely use any sauces but this pesto one does look delicious and i’m sure my boys would love it! Thanks for sharing! xxx

  • Avatar

    Donna @OrdCyclingGirl

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    It’s a great App! Both my kids have started to love getting involved with cooking so we have started using it and can definitely recommend it. And pesto is yum….although the strong after taste always puts me off a little!

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    you baby me mummy

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    I have never had pesto, wasn’t on my families radar and isn’t really on mine. Thanks for the recipe I may give it a whirl x

  • Avatar

    ninja cat

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    I LOVE PESTO .. please send me some ..it is an emergency

  • Avatar

    Pinkoddy

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    Brilliant thank you – I always buy pesto too. In fact we keep using too many jars and tonight we are having curry that I actually made and marinated the meat last night.

  • Avatar

    San

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    Will be trying this! Harvey is a fussy eater and his brother seems to be following, so maybe getting them more involved might help. :)

  • Avatar

    Emily Shepperson

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    I’ve never actually made nor eaten pesto so perhaps that needs to go on my ‘to do’ list. Great post. Thank you.

  • Avatar

    Mina Joshi

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    Hadn’t realised pesto could be made so quickly and easily. Being vegetarian we get through bottles of pesto so I will try your recipe.

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    Jenny

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    I love pesto but have never made my own, something to add to my to do list!

  • Avatar

    Victoria Mylittlel

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    believe it or not i never tried pesto before, pasta looks yumy

  • Avatar

    Katie Albury

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    This looks amazing! I’ve bookmarked this to give it a go this weekend!! Great post…love pesto!! x

  • Avatar

    Lauren

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    Mmm…we love pesto and I’ve never thought about making it myself really but it does sound easy and I can imagine how it tastes too, yum!

  • Avatar

    Aisha from expatlog

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    We’re a family of pesto lovers and roasted mediterranean veg devotees – well, anything delicious and bursting with flavor actually. Pesto is one of those things that’s SO amazing you assume it must be outside your ability but it’s deceptively simple. Enjoy your therapy with the mini-chopper 😉

  • Avatar

    Foz

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    Oh I have never tried pesto. This looks yummy though!

  • Avatar

    Jen aka Muminthemadhouse

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    We have this app and love it. The boys think it is fab. Homemade pesto is far superior to jarred

  • Avatar

    Sarah Bailey

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    Oh yum this sounds delicious – I really need to get more creative in the kitchen :) x

  • Avatar

    Charlotte

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    That looks fabulous, my OH would love it! Will have to show him since he does all the cooking 😉

  • Avatar

    Helen Dickinson

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    These recipe looks delicious. Perfect for summer evenings.

  • Avatar

    kara

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    I have never tried pesto but it does look delicious

Comments are closed