I had plenty of basil in the garden, but the season is almost over now. The other day I picked the last bunch. Pasta with pesto is the fastest food I know, and it tastes wonderful when the basil is freshly picked.
Collect, wash and drain fresh basil. Fry pine nuts in a dry saucepan. In a blender, puree the basil and the pine nuts with lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Proportions are up to your taste. Meanwhile, cook pasta. Mix the pesto with the pasta and add grated Parmesan cheese (optional).
This is ramsons (Allium ursinum, wild garlic or bear's garlic) season. I bought some seeds and sowed it in the backyard. Looking forward to get my own ramsons, but until then we took a trip to collect some leaves in the forest, where it grows wildly.
This is how I made the pesto:
- Fry seeds in a dry pan. It can be any seeds you like - my favourite ones are sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Cool them down and ground them roughly.
- Rinse and dry the ramsons leaves. Mash them in a food processor.
- Wash a couple of organic lemons. Grate the skin and press the juice.
- Mix ramsons leaves, seeds, zest and juice in a bowl. Spoon it in a jar tightly without leaving any air bubbles. Pour a little olive oil on it after every third or fourth spoon. Pour some olive oil on the top, too, close the jar and place it in the fridge at least for 24 hour.
This pesto has an intense garlic taste with a long, mild aftertaste of the fried seeds. Use it on pasta, toast, lamb or beef.
You can keep the pesto in fridge up to 6 months.
This roaster pot have been on my wish list for a while. It is heavy, thick and has a non stick coating. It is so easy to cook in it: just put everything into the pot and cover it with the lid. Place it in the oven, set the timer and forget about it for a while. The next task is to set the table a bit later.
I will post several dishes made in this wonderful instrument. Here comes the first one:
- Coat the pot with olive oil.
- Soak red lentils for about 10 minutes and then rinse it.
- Cut courgettes, bell peppers and mushrooms roughly and place them into the pot.
- Chop fresh parsley, thyme, garlic and onion finely. Cut slices of Norwegian goat cheese. (Any other types of goat cheese might be good.) Mix them with the lentils.
- Add salt and about 1 dl orange juice. Mix it well.
- Layer it on the vegetables.
- Spoon sour cream on the top.
- Cover the pot with the lid and place it into the oven.
- Bake on 210 ºC for 30 minutes. You can turn the oven off 10 minutes earlier, the pot will keep the warmth for a while. Also, remove the lid for the last 10 minutes, so the juice would evaporate and the sour cream would get some golden tone.