Pesto should be a no-brainer as far as summertime staples go, but truth be told, I don’t make this type nearly often enough. Like its greener cousin, it’s simple to make, has relatively few ingredients, can be served hot or cold and, even though some would condemn me for screwing about with something so simply elegant all on its own, is great for fridge busting and getting the most out of our produce.
Got tomatoes that aren’t quite pretty enough for salad? Toss ’em in.
Basil/parsley/any leafy green thing that’s a little too limp? Toss ’em in.
The best thing about this recipe, to my mind, is that it creates a rosé-coloured sauce that is totally plant-based and is as hearty, creamy and boldly flavoured as anything that sat simmering on the cooker for hours and contained oodles of cheese.
The second best thing is that you can just as easily use it as a salad dressing as you can a pasta sauce. Smear it on croutons or a pizza base. Use it as a condiment in soups or over baked potatoes or dip raw vegetables in it. It’s also a great marinade for roasting things like portabello mushrooms, chicken, fish, cauliflower, and more. Like its green cousin again, you’ll be putting this shit on everything.
This recipe makes a good 3+ cups of the stuff, so plan to store what you won’t use up within a couple of days. I like freezing it in ice cube trays to create manageable amounts to thaw for future use.
To get the best flavour, make it a few hours before you intend to serve it.
What you need:
- 4 medium-sized field tomatoes or 5 Roma tomatoes
- 1 packed cup of mint leaves (or herb/combination of herbs of choice)
- 2/3 cup of blanched almonds
- Generous pinch of kosher salt
- Generous pinch of nutmeg
- Generous pinch of red chili flakes (optional – I often like to let eaters add these directly to their meals so they can tweak the heat on their own)
- 2 tbsp dry, white wine
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
What you do:
- Blanch, peel and de-seed your tomatoes, then set aside.
- Toast your almonds until just browning, then set aside to cool.
- Once the warmed ingredients have cooled, whizz together the mint, almonds, salt, nutmeg, chilies and wine, scraping the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until well-combined and paste-like.
- Whizz again, drizzling in the olive oil until well-combined and almost creamy.
- Quarter the tomatoes and begin blending them in with the paste, one quarter at a time, until well-combined and creamy. If you’d like a chunkier consistency, hold back a tomato or two to chop and fold in after all of the whizzing is done.