Recently I have been creating quite a few seafood dishes which have incorporated pesto as the base ingredient. Zucchini Pasta with basil pesto and fresh prawns have been a big hit in my house. It dawned on me that I could save quite some time, and effort, in the kitchen if I simply combined seafood’s complimentary citrus flavours with my new found love, pesto!
Pesto is such a diverse catylist to keep around the kitchen. It can be used as a sauce in pasta or a marinade for meats and it makes a fantastic dip for appetizers! The diversity of pesto is only extended by the variety of primary ingredients (basil, parsley, walnuts, pine nuts, etc) you can use to make it.
Pesto is primarily made using pine nuts and basil as a base. I love pine nuts but I always find they are far too expensive, especially for the amount required for a quality amount of pesto. I much prefer walnuts, so I use a ratio of 60/40 walnuts to pine nuts as a base for the pesto. If you find the taste of raw walnuts to be too bitter ensure you toast them before hand, for 5- 10 minutes at 375 F/ 160 C. Add the pine nuts in the last 5 minutes. This will induce a robust nutty flavor. (I much prefer them raw, toasted walnuts are too over powering for my taste buds and the small amount of pine nuts used makes only a subtle difference after toasting).
Makes 1 – 1.5 cups
- 1 cup basil leaves, washed and packed tightly
- zest of 1 large navel orange
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup walnuts
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a food processor combine the walnuts, pine nuts and the garlic. Pulse until the mixture resembles course bread crumbs. Add the basil, zest of the orange and lemon and the parmeson. Pulse until the mixture resembles a fine paste. Add the orange and lemon juice and half of the olive oil, mix until combined. Slowly incorporate the remaining olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper. If a chunky pesto is preferred add the pinenuts at the same time as the basil.