Because of this salad, my husband grows rocket in the garden for me, and only me, as no one in my house loves rocket but me (he has also planted a fig tree).
When I have a rocket build up, this pesto happens, I love it (and my kids will eat it also, as it's not too 'rockety').
Pesto is so easy to make, and this recipe should be used as a guide, if you like more cheese, add more cheese, if you like more lemon, add more lemon etc. I've made this pesto with walnuts and with pine nuts, we prefer pine nuts, but when I have walnuts to use up, I will use them here, as it's still very, very good. I've also made it pecorino cheese, when I have that in my fridge.
To toast the pine nuts or walnuts, I just put them in a dry frying pan over medium heat and stir around for a few minutes until you see them start to colour and you can smell that they are toasted. Allow to cool completely.
Pesto also freezes really well, Once I make pesto, I just put it in snap lock bags and straight in the freezer, then when I need it, just pull it out and defreeze and it's like it was freshly made. It's especially great on nights I don't want to cook, as it's great with pasta, all you have to do is boil up some pasta and stir it through. If you want to add a little effort, add some roasted cherry tomatoes through the pasta to. That's not 'real' cooking either as minimal effort is involved.
It also keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days. I just put it in jars, then as I use it, what's left I smooth the surface in the jar, then top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, to keep it fresh.
Now this lunch idea came from the idea of a caprese salad, tomato, cheese and basil. But I thought why not make it like an open sandwich and add this pesto instead. It was brilliant. Use crunchy Italian bread here, it's the best for it. The cheese, I use Baby Bocconcini or fresh Mozzarella or Stracciatella or Burrata, any of those fresh cheeses work. You could even use Ricotta and Stracciatella I would spread on the bread though, then top with pesto and tomatoes. The tomatoes, just make sure they are ripe. If not homegrown, I like the baby grape tomatoes, they have a great flavour. Drizzle over the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford (watch out for sales) and lunch is amazing.
You could make small versions of this as bruschetta for parties.
This is a simple lunch, but it's packed full of flavour, one of my favourite things to eat.
250g-300g rocket leaves
50g basil leaves
2-3 cloves garlic, I put 3
160g pine nuts or walnuts, toasted, cooled completely
20g freshly grated parmesan cheese
2½ tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
2/3-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Make the pesto: Add the rocket, basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Blitz to combine. Taste, add another 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, add more lemon, if you like, blitz until smooth and creamy. Keep adding oil until it has the consistency that you like.
Spread pesto on the base, top with bocconcini and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and add on some baby basil leaves, to garnish.
Pin it: www.pinterest.com.au/pin/399413060718282259/