Tonight I will bruise
with wild perfume, it is
summer time to pick
sweet spearhead leaves,
tonight I will cry
salted garlic tears for
resistant leaves, it is time
to grind till they bleed dark
into oil and cheese
tonight I will chop
cream pine cone pips from
Turkish hills, not my mother's kitchen
these smells of earth sweat
and acrid green
tonight I will dress
in leaves, nuts and bulbs,
fresh sharp and slippery,
it is summer time...
Pesto by Fiona Johnston © Reproduced kind courtesy of Fiona Johnston
In summer when the basil
flourishes in my kitchen garden, I am always reminded of a favourite poem written by Fiona Johnston
and I know it is time to make pesto. An exquisite aroma fills my kitchen as I pound freshly picked basil leaves together with home grown garlic, pine nuts, cheese, sea salt and olive oil, into a smooth, brilliant green sauce. If I close my eyes, I can picture myself in the Italian countryside with Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo, standing beside me as I cook. Silly? No. Whimsical, perhaps... delicious, yes, yes, yes!
Ah, that wonderful aroma! A bunch of freshly picked basil brings summertime to my kitchen
Fresh, beautiful ingredients = pesto pefecto!
You'll need a bunch of basil, perhaps 40-50 leaves
And four cloves of garlic
plus 40g pine nut kernels
And 50g of grated pecorino or parmesan
50-100mls of extra virgin olive oil and 10g of coarse sea salt
Pound the basil leaves, then add the garlic, then the salt, then the pine nut kernels, the cheese and the oil... and cook some pasta
With a little patience, you will have created pesto perfecto!
The process in pictures...
Spoon the pesto into a saucepan and toss in freshly cooked, hot pasta of your choice, and a little bit of the cooking water
Garnish with grated cheese and sprigs of basil... mmmmmmmmmm!
Carluccio e Contaldo make pasta al pesto...
Tell me, which aromatic produce best brings summertime to your kitchen?