Pesto is synonymous with Italian pasta dishes, but this flavoursome ingredient can be utilised to lift a multitude of recipes across various areas of your menu.
The Country Range Green Pesto has the perfect balance of basil, olive oil and hard cheese. It has just enough garlic to give it that pure ‘pesto alla Genovese’ taste. It is gluten free and is also suitable for vegetarians.
This issue we have Christopher Basten, who is the Head Judge for the Country Range Student Chef Challenge competition, sharing with us five different ways to utilise this versatile product.
- Spring Pesto Pasta
Toss freshly cooked farfalle pasta with the pesto, add charred asparagus and spring onions, snipped chives and cubed feta cheese. This dish can be served hot or cold and can be accompanied by crusty fresh bread and a dipping oil or tapenade.
- Roasted tomato and ricotta tart with pesto dressed rocket
Take a roll of puff pastry and unroll onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Prick the pastry
all over with a fork, bake for 15mins then leave to cool. Mix ricotta with lemon zest and a spoonful of pesto then spread over the pastry. Add sliced tomatoes, cook again for
15 mins then serve with pesto dressed rocket.
- Gnocchi with smoked aubergine, pesto & shaved Parmesan
Gently burn the skin of your aubergine until black then place into a bowl and cover with cling film for 20 mins. Remove the flesh with a spoon and blend with a tablespoon of pesto then fold the mixture into the gnocchi and finish shavings
- Charred onions, pesto avocado and rye
Cook your onions until they are nice and crispy. Mash your avocado and spread it on top of toasted rye. Mix two tablespoons of mayonnaise
with a teaspoon of pesto and drizzle over your rye before topping with your crispy
onions – delicious!
- Spinach, blueberry and cucumber couscous salad with lemon pesto
Take some cooked couscous and put into a bowl, add baby spinach leaves, diced cucumber and cubed feta cheese. Zest an unwaxed lemon, add two tablespoons of green pesto and drizzle over the salad, finish with blueberries.
Christopher Basten is head judge of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, as well as the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Chairman of Judges. A classically trained chef, Chris has worked with the likes of John Burton-Race and Raymond Blanc, and is currently chef lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College in London responsible for teaching the culinary arts to students.
A former national chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs, he is also an active member of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ culinary team and competes in culinary competitions around the world.
Andrew Green column
We have like all experienced challenges with COVID-19, but at the same time ensured that where possible maintained a good calendar of events. Entries are out for the Graduate Awards, with National Chef of the Year starting to ‘ramp up’ also. Last month saw our AGM where we celebrated our new Chairman Matt Owens into the ‘hot seat’. A new look committee will focus on driving us forward in these uncertain times, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.