Herb Pesto Five Ways

With your herb garden bursting into life, spring is the time to start making pesto.  Pesto is a great addition to a grazing platter, as a condiment on a hearty sandwich, or tossed through a pasta salad.  You can also rub it on lamb cutlets or chicken thighs as a marinade.  The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute different herbs and nuts, depending on what you have in your garden right now.  

Ingredients 

1 cup fresh  herbs (basil is commonly used, but you could also try mint, parsley, coriander, tarragon, or a combination of herbs) 

½ cup blanched baby peas or baby spinach (optional) 

1 - 2 cloves of minced garlic (depending on how much you like garlic!) 

¼ cup grated parmesan 

¼ olive oil 

¼ cup toasted nuts (pine nuts are often used, but you can use walnuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews or macadamias) 

Salt and pepper to taste 

2 tbsp of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar 

Method 

Pop all ingredients except for the olive oil into a kitchen processor and whiz until it is the right consistency.  With the blender on, gradually drizzle in the olive oil.  This will help prevent the olive oil from separating.  You can add more olive oil if the mixture is a little dry.   Season to taste before serving.   

Pesto browns if exposed to air.  To slow this process, place a silicone cover or cling film over the pesto, making sure that it touches the surface of the dip.  Store in the refrigerator.