Traditionally, pesto was that wonderful mix of basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and oil that the Italians gave us. This has morphed into Asian pesto and any other sort of green paste that can be dreamed up. Normally I am a purist but I do think some of these different combinations work really well. They are also a great way to use a glut in a crop of rocket, coriander or parsley.


(Serves 4)

  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly roasted and skin rubbed off
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g fresh linguine or fettuccine
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, extra

If you wish to pound in a pestle and mortar, then place the leaves, garlic and salt into the mortar. Pound them down to a rough paste then add the walnuts and a small amount of oil. When it is smoothish, add the rest of the oil in small amounts along with the cheese, lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper. Check the balance of flavours. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook it for 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain it and return to the pot. Stir through the pesto and serve with an extra scatter of cheese and parsley.


© The West Australian

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