For a spicy alternative, rocket leaves can be added to the basil and pounded together or you might like to try a parsley combination… Cooked chickpeas can be used in place of the pine nuts in case of allergy.
Fresh from the garden: basil
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Alice Waters in The Art of Simple Food
Makes: about 3 cups
- Bowls – big, med, small
- Salad spinner
- Cheese grater
- Medium frying pan
- Mortar & pestle
- Tea towel
- Measuring jug
- Serving bowls if needed
- 1 big bunch basil, to yield about 100g
- 1 large clove garlic
- 80g pine nuts
- 50g parmesan cheese
- 200ml extra virgin olive oil
What to do:
- Pick the basil leaves from the stalks and weigh before you wash them!
- Then wash in several changes of water and thoroughly spin-dry the basil.
- Grate the parmesan cheese.
- Heat the frying pan on a medium heat and lightly dry-toast the pine nuts, shaking regularly so that they don’t stick.
- Peel the garlic clove and place in the mortar and pestle with a good pinch of salt. Pound these to a paste.
- Add the pine nuts to the mortar & pestle and continue to pound. Once smooth-ish, transfer to the bowl and stir in the parmesan.
- Tear the basil leaves and put them into the mortar with a sprinkle of flaked salt. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pine nut mixture to the mortar and, pounding it all together, gradually pour in all the olive oil.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Mix into steaming hot pasta, spread on bruschetta, drizzle over tomato slices, serve as part of an antipasto plate with goats’ cheese and roasted capsicum or spoon into serving bowls to serve as a dip with flatbreads.
Notes: What else can you use with pesto? What also goes with well with basil? Why do we toast the pine nuts? Can you name any other pasta sauces?
Yotam says, “Chard leaves are some of the most popular greens in Jerusalem. They have a fantastic sharp aroma and tend to hold their texture when cooked. Garlic is essential! Paired with tahini and yoghurt, they make a remarkable dish – sharp and full of flavour…” We have made it into a main course simply by adding some penne pasta – a dried staple found in every kitchen.
Fresh from the garden: Swiss chard (silverbeet), garlic, lemon
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe in the book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes
- Citrus juicer
- Bowls – big, med
- Garlic press
- Measures: jug, tablespoon
- Chopping boards and knives
- 2 large stockpots
- Large frying pan
- Slotted spoon, wooden spoon
- Serving bowls
What to do:
- 250g dried penne
- 1.3kg Swiss chard
- 40g unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
- 40g pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 60ml dry white wine, stock or water
- Sweet paprika, to garnish
- 50g light tahini paste
- 50g Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons water
- Flaked salt
- Start with the sauce: Squeeze the lemon to yield 2 tablespoons juice. Place all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and add a pinch of salt. Peel the garlic clove and squeeze through the press and add too; whisk well until you get a smooth, semi-stiff paste. Set aside.
- Bring the 2 large pots of salted water to a boil. Use a sharp knife to separate the chard stalks from the leaves and cut both into 2cm wide slices, keeping them separate. Peel the garlic cloves and slice thinly.
- Add the pasta to one pot of boiling water with a tablespoon of salt and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chard stalks to the other pot of boiling water, simmer for 2 minutes, add leaves and simmer for another minute. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Allow the water to drain and then use your hands to squeeze the chard well until it is completely dry.
- Put half the butter and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan and place on a medium heart. Once hot, add the pine nuts and toss them in the pan until golden, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan then throw in the garlic. Cook for about a minute until it starts to become golden.
- Carefully pour in the wine, stock or water and leave for about a minute until it reduces to about a third. Add the chard and the rest of the butter and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain the pasta and turn back into the hot pot, reserving some cooking water. Add the chard and mix to combine. Divide the into serving bowls, spoon some tahini sauce on top and scatter with the pine nuts. Finally, drizzle with a tiny splash of olive oil and dust with some paprika.