Interestingly, it seems to be Pesto Week on television. On Italian Food Safari, Lucio Galletto showed how us to make pesto (with untoasted pinenuts, as they release their own oil), while on MasterChef Australia, the elimination challenge featured Genovese Pesto.
This is a basil pesto that I whipped up last weekend, after a trip to the markets. Unfortunately, summer is all but over and the basil leaves are large and bordering on bitterness. Luckily, we can just add more parmesan cheese to cover it up...
The pesto is served with some chicken breast and roast vegetables. Fortunately in this case, autumnal veges are currently in season and begging to be roasted, baked and finally anointed with a cheesey pesto.
Basil Pesto with Chicken and Roast Vegetables
makes 1 ½ cups
• 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, picked
• 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
• 1 tblsp lemon zest, finely grated
• ¼ cup olive oil
• Vegetables such as kent or jap pumpkin (sliced), baby potatoes, red onion (quartered)
• For each person, 1 x 200g chicken breast
1. Place basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest and parmesan in a food processor. Process until finely chopped and combined.
2. With motor running, add olive oil in a thin, steady stream. Process until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Pesto can be stored covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Cover with a layer of olive oil to stop the basil from darkening.
3. For the vegetables, preheat oven to 200 deg C/ 400 deg F. In a baking tray, toss the vegetables in oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until done, about 20-30 minutes.
4. For the chicken, preheat a barbecue plate or chargrill on medium. Brush chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side or until cooked through.
5. To serve, slice the chicken and top of some roast vegetables. Serve basil pesto on the side.
Gorgeously autumnal colours...
Topped with basil.