Pesto Variations: Rocket (Deconstructed)

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I like the strong, bitter, almost meaty flavour of rocket. It seems to be a love it or hate it affair with this leaf and I’m firmly in the love-it camp. Rocket works not just as a salad leaf to perk up an otherwise boring lettuce salad, it also comes into its own used as a herb in pesto. The fact that it’s priced like a salad leaf, not a herb, also boosts its popularity in eatdrinkcooktravel land.

I’m normally quite lazy when it comes to pesto, so lazy that I don’t even want to break out the food processor for it. That’s why my favourite way to make pasta in pesto is a sort of deconstructed version.

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Ingredients:

linguine
handful pine nuts
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 handfuls of rocket, chopped
parmesan cheese, optional

Method:

  1. Cook the linguine in plenty of boiling salted water till al dente.
  2. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing often till golden brown. Set aside and chop coarsely if you can be bothered.
  3. When the linguine is about done, heat the oil in the frying pan and gently cook the garlic for a few seconds.
  4. Add the pasta, a spoonful of its cooking liquid and the rocket and toss till the linguine is well-coated.
  5. Toss in the pine nuts and season to taste.
  6. Grate over the parmesan cheese if you’re using and serve.

Serves 2.

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