The first in our series of recipes from Theo Randall’s new book, My Simple Italian, this pesto is quick and simple but a world away from the shop bought stuff. The courgettes also bump up the 5-a-day quota. A perfect spring update to your family recipe repertoire.
TAGLIATELLE WITH PESTO AND COURGETTES
Serves 2 for lunch (so double up for dinner/bigger appetites)
Pesto is very easy to make and brings out the best of fresh basil. It works perfectly with courgettes, and together they make the tagliatelle juicy and flavoursome.
– 250g fresh tagliatelle
– 2 courgettes, cut into long strips
For the pesto:
– 1 garlic clove, peeled
– 150g basil leaves
– 75g pine nuts, preferably Mediterranean
– 100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
– 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- First make the pesto. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with ½ teaspoon sea salt to a smooth paste. Add the basil leaves and pound so the leaves turn to a pulp. Add the pine nuts and crush until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons water and emulsify, then add the Parmesan cheese. Finally, slowly work in the olive oil.
- Cook the pasta with the courgettes in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 3 minutes – the pasta should still have a bite.
- Meanwhile, warm half the pesto in a frying pan.
- Using tongs, lift the pasta and courgettes from the water and add to the frying pan. Toss with the pesto and add 2–3 tablespoons of the pasta water to loosen the sauce so it coats the pasta strands.
- Check and adjust the seasoning and serve with the remaining pesto on top.
Extracted from ‘ My Simple Italian‘ by Theo Randall. Published by Ebury Press. Photography by Mike Lusmore.
Read our interview with Theo on family cooking and look out for more recipes next week.