4 Dec 2012

Summertime "Blonde Pesto"

I read them more often than I read my textbooks

I put these on recipes that I want to try

My cookbook collection is getting bigger with the addition of Tana's Kitchen Secrets and Mr Wilkinson's Favourite Vegetables cookbooks. I bought them out of curiosity, if you ask me.

At first, I didn't even know that Tana is Gordon Ramsay's wife. Her book is definitely more approachable and nicer to read than Gordon's Fast Food cookbook. As much as I love Gordon Ramsay, I think his book lacks in charm. Everything is so quick, no preface, no stories behind the dishes, nothing. Just recipes. It's like watching his cooking show, only in a book form. Sorry Gordon. I do prefer cookbooks with some insights and stories from the authors.

I decided to buy the other book (Mr Wilkinson's Favourite Vegetables) firstly because of the cover. I'm your typical book-cover-judging kind of person. It looks interesting and has a lot of information about vegetables. Each part talks about one particular veggie and then some recipes using that veggie. It almost feels like it is a veggie guide for cooks and also vegetable home growers. I really want to have my own small garden with fresh herbs and veggies. It'll be really great to be able to cook your own produce, right? But yeah.. maybe later. When I have my own house.. or when I get married. Which is still years to come.


Beautiful photograph
So as you might know, one of my best buddy Galang gave me Jamie Oliver's 'Cook with Jamie' book as a birthday present last June. I've been reading it over and over again but haven't tried any of his recipes (even Galang started to tease me for not making anything out of the book. jerk. lol. joking)
But yesterday I finally made one!
I tried his Summertime Tagliarini recipe. Instead of tagliarini, I used spaghetti because that's the only thing I have at home and I didn't bother to buy one.
Apart from bashing and mashing the pinenuts by hand, the whole recipe was fairly easy and simple. It's just a matter of mixing everything in, balancing all the flavours and voila, you got yourself a light, delicious and summery pasta dish.
I really recommend using a mortar and pestle to mash up the pinenuts to make your life easier. But since I don't own one, I think the old ziplock mashing trick do just fine. The pinenut paste will probably  be a bit more coarse, but it's ok. Oh, a food processor (which obviously I do not own as well) will work even better and quicker !
I also halved the recipe and still get some leftover pesto that I can eat on the next day.

I apologize for not being precise about the amount of ingredients. When I cook, I tend to eyeball and taste everything as I go. Since it's not baking, it's possible to do adjustments if you made some mistakes in the middle of the process.

Summertime "Blonde Pesto"
Adapted from 'Cook with Jamie' cookbook
Serves 2


  • 1/2 cup of pinenuts
  • 1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
  • A few stalks of parsley (some chopped finely, and some left whole)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Small amount of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Small amount of Pecorino cheese, grated
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 servings of spaghetti
1. Mash 1/2 of the pinenuts into paste (with a ziplock bag method / mortar & pestle / food processor) and then mix it back together with the whole pine nuts in a bowl
2. Add the lemon juice and zest, chopped parsley, extra virgin and both cheeses. Don't forget to season it with some salt and pepper and mix well. 
3. The mixture should resembles a slightly thick dressing (but not too thick). Taste it and adjust if needed. Jamie said to make sure that the sauce should taste a bit zingy. 
4. On a pot of simmering water (with some salt in it), put the bowl on top of the pot, stir and let the heat from the simmering water warm up the sauce and also melt the cheeses inside. This is why you want your sauce to be a bit zingy before hand, the melted cheese will eventually decrease the zing of the lemon and you don't want to lemony taste to disappear completely. 
5. When the water have come to a rapid boil, remove the bowl and put the spaghetti in the pot, cooking it accordingly to the time specified in the packaging. 
6. When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss it with the sauce and add 2 tbsp of the pasta water too it. 
7. Serve it warm, garnished with whole leaves of parsley.

It's quiet nice to have something different with your pasta besides the tomato based and creamy sauces. This one is definitely a winner for summer!

By the way, Melbourne's weather is not at its best . It's supposed to be summer but it's raining like no other since yesterday. Why oh why...

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