Seasonal Pestos

by Louise Gorham

What a brilliant way to get out and use the first of the Spring Bounty. I made the Ramsons pesto and shared it with my one year old daughter who ate hers with gusto and then tried to elbow me aside to pinch the rest of mine.

All measurements are rough estimates – use them as a starting point and adjust them to your own taste.

Ramsons Pesto

100g ramson (Allium ursinum) leaves, washed (3 large handfuls)

10g fresh basil leaves

1 handful roasted pine or pistachio nuts

Juice of ½ lemon (up to 1 lemon depending on your taste)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

50g grana padana (or any hard cheese) grated

2-4 tbspn good olive oil

Salt and pepper

Put everything into a food processor (or use a bowl and a hand blender), you could also use a pestle and mortar if you have all evening. Blitz, blend or pound away. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, lemon juice or anything else that needs adjusting.

Nettle Pesto

2 large (gloved) handfuls of fresh nettle tops, washed (probably about 70g)

1 small handful fresh basil leaves

1 handful roasted pine or pistachio nuts

Juice of ½ lemon (up to 1 lemon depending on your taste)

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

30-50g grana padana (or any hard cheese) grated

2-4 tbspn good olive oil

Salt and pepper

Get a large pan of water on the go and when it’s boiling add the nettles. Put the lid on and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain and then run them under some cold water to stop the cooking process (you don’t want them too mushy). Add everything to the blender, blitz, taste, adjust seasoning.

Pea Pesto

Not strictly seasonal but still fresh, green and tasty. This is really good with pasta and can be made in less time than it takes the pasta to cook.

300g garden peas (fresh or frozen)

2 cloves chopped garlic

A small handful of grated hard cheese

A small handful of fresh parsley/basil/mint depending on your taste

Salt and pepper

Boil the peas for about 2 minutes. Drain, reserving some cooking water, and put into a food processor. Fry the garlic for a few minutes, add to the peas. Add everything else plus 10-20mls cooking water. Blitz. Adjust seasoning & more cooking water if needed.

All of the above pestos can be frozen, and need to be kept in the fridge & eaten within a week.

Coming soon – Hip and Haw Ketchup…

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