This tasty pesto keeps in the fridge for up to three days when covered with a layer of olive oil. It is also delicious on chicken, steak or fish.
A handful (about 6) sundried tomato halves, in oil or dried
3-6 anchovy fillets (to taste: dried sundried tomatoes are more salty so start with 3 anchovy fillets)
A handful (about 50g) of walnut halves, toasted until rich and nutty
A large handful (about 15g) of flat-leaf parsley
A large handful (about 15g) of basil leaves
About 60g aged pecorino cheese, broken into chunks
1 garlic clove, peeled
Grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lemon
100ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed
A pinch of cayenne pepper
400g-600g dried pasta or 320g-480g fresh pasta
1⁄2 bag (about 60g) of baby spinach leaves, washed and spun
400g heritage (or other) tomatoes, roughly chopped into chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Meanwhile, place the sundried tomatoes, anchovies, walnut halves, parsley, basil, pecorino, garlic, lemon zest and juice and olive oil in a food processor or blender and pulse to a rough pesto consistency. Add more oil if the mixture is too dry or until you have the desired consistency. Season to taste with cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.
- When the salted water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the packet. Drain the pasta but keep a cup of the cooking water.
- Toss the hot pasta with enough pesto to coat well. Add the baby spinach leaves and chopped tomatoes and toss again to mix. Add a tiny splash of the retained pasta water to moisten if necessary.
TIP This dish can either be served immediately or prepared a little in advance and served at room temperature.
Now buy the book
Our recipes are from Pasta Perfect by Laura Santini, which is published by Ryland, Peters & Small, price £14.99. To order a copy for £11.99 until 11 April, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free p&p on orders over £20.