small pleasures: pesto

We’ve been in our new place  for just on a year now.  One of the first additions to the back yard was a solid, built to last, vegetable garden. Twelve months on, the vegetable patch and surrounding pots are producing well enough to be a regular source of inspiration for meals.  The baby eggplants were the basis of a tasty thrown-together ratatouille.  The herbs – mint (in a pot), chives, oregano, parsley and basil, the star of this post – have settled in very well and are earning their keep.  The recalcitrant brussels sprouts plants, however, were ceremoniously removed due to their decided lack of productivity over too many months.

Rhubarb, corn and cherry tomatoes were introduced last month. As seedlings they were witness to the plight of the aforesaid sprouts. This may or may not be one of the reasons they are thriving. The turmeric root planted hopefully a couple of months ago has recently put in an appearance in its pot with a stem and impressive unfurling leaf.

Watching Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo on their 2011 series Two Greedy Italians, I was charmed and inspired by the joy of these two men as they playfully prepared this Silk Handkerchief Pasta with Pesto. It was time to launch into two firsts – making pesto, and pasta, from scratch.

Garden bountyGarlic - don't hold backIMG_0726IMG_0729

A word of warning. I have found that using the mortar and pestle is ever-so-slightly addictive. If you’re game, turn on your favourite music, and get bashing. You might find that kneading and rolling out the pasta is also good for the soul, to say nothing of your biceps.

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