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The Not-So-Classic 'Rocket' Pesto

By rorykelly

December 20, 2016 at 12:10am


  • 75g pine nuts
  • 1 large bunch of rocket
  • 75g fresh grated Parmesan
  • 75ml top drawer olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic ( this is a personal preference I recommend testing yours as you go)

True story this, the best Basil Pesto I have ever had was in Berlin… 6th June 2004. I've had this classic many times in Italy but that place in Berlin just nailed it, the exact balance of cheese, garlic, basil and oil.

I've been making pestos (sun dried tomato, basil, cannellini bean) pretty much every 4-5 weeks since then so it's safe to say I'm an addict. I'll quit when I finally turn green!

This is the simplest pasta sauce you can make and it's called 'Pesto' because it's traditionally made in a pestle and mortar but equally you can just whizz it in food processor. This pesto is made with rocket, a punchier alternative to basil and it will keep for a good month in the fridge as long as you keep it in a tight Kilner jar.


Step 1

Line up your ingredients.


Step 2

Sling the pine nuts into a dry frying pan and over a moderate heat toast them for about 5 minutes until they start to release some of their oils.

Step-1 1

Step 3

When the nuts are cooled turn them out onto a chopping board and run a knife through them along with the garlic and the rocket, get everything as fine as you can to make it easier if you choose to go classic and make the pesto in a mortar.

Step-2 1

Step 4

Next go at it... Add the Parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, rocket, garlic and oil to the pestle and bash/grind everything together until you get the consistency you want. Me, I prefer smooth but this is up to you stop bashing you mortar when you’re happy. Season with salt and cracked black pepper to your own palate.

Step-3 1

Hey presto, you just made pesto!! It’s classically served straight into spaghetti or fusilli, but what really rocks is mixing some of the pesto into mayo and slathering it over a chicken sandwich!


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