Pesto originated in Genoa in Italy, and traditionally includes crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves & hard cheese (such as Parmigiano-Reggiano), all blended with olive oil. The word pesto or pesta in Italian means to pound or crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, where the ingredients are crushed or ground in a marble mortar, using a circular motion of a wooden pestle.
Which is all well and good, but what if you’re in Australia and have a random selection of fresh leaves that need using up?! I found myself with a large bunch of fresh coriander that was getting droopier by the day, so Random Pesto became a thing!
As well as being extremely forgiving for recipe substitutions, pesto can also be highly nutritious. Good fats & protein from nuts and hard cheese, immune supporting garlic and a large variety of vitamins and minerals depending on the leafy greens you have to hand.
To a food processor (or pestle & mortar) add the following:
- Two large handfuls of almonds (or cashews, pine nuts, bunya nuts)
- 2-3 Tsp parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2-3 garlic cloves (or 4-5 if you like garlic!)
- 4+ handfuls of greens (I used a combination of coriander, basil, flat-leaf parsley and rocket – you could use any combination; carrot tops are also delicious)
- Blitz the above ingredients in a food processor until you reach desired consistency.
- Add the juice of one lime with 30ml olive oil and mix again. Add more olive oil if needed for a smoother result.
- Enjoy stirred through pasta, dabbed on pizza, as part of a cheeseboard or just eat it straight from the jar!