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HEY PESTO!: TAFE NSW cookery guru Sara Morley urges home cooks to experiment with pesto.
Hands up if you don’t like pesto. Thought so.
Infinitely versatile, quick, easy and lip-smackingly delicious, pesto is also practically impossible to stuff up.
Speaking on her regular ABC Riverina TAFE Buds segment with Sally Bryant this morning, TAFE NSW cookery queen Sara Morley urged listeners to experiment with the verdant green condiment.
“Italians are vigilant about making sure recipes are set in stone but the reality is you can absolutely do different things with pesto,” Ms Morley said.
She said while cooking cannon dictated pesto should contain pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, basil and olive oil, there was no reason home cooks couldn’t “mix it up” according to what they had in stock.
It was simply a case of ensuring your dish contained a variation of six different elements, she said: herbs, oil, nuts/seeds, sour, salty and garlic.
Ms Morley said salsa verde and chimichurri were both well-known and loved alternatives (see recipes below).
As for how you eat your pesto, well that’s entirely up to you, but Ms Morley suggested tossing it through pasta, using it as a marinade on cooked meat, smearing it on a toasted sandwich, mixing it with sour cream and creating a delicious dip or even tossing it through scrambled eggs.
If you’d like to sharpen your kitchen skills or consider a career in cooking, there are a smorgasbord of courses available at TAFE NSW. For more information, visit www.tafensw.edu.au
Sara's Sensational Basil Pesto
50g pine nuts
½ cup grated good quality Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
2 bunches basil
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Toast pine nuts, tossing once halfway through, until golden brown (approx. 5 mins). Cool.
Transfer to a food processor or blender.
Add parmesan and garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Add basil and pulse briefly.
With the motor running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is smooth.
Season to taste.
Place in jar and top with oil to prevent browning.
Swap: Basil for other green leafy herb e.g. Rocket, Parsley, Kale, coriander
Swap: Pine Nuts for other nuts e.g. Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews, peanuts
Alternative = Salsa Verde: parsley, basil, mint, capers, gherkins, anchovies, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, chili
Alternative = Chimichurri: Parsley, coriander, spring onions, garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar, chili flakes