With my new timetable for school I have quite a bit of time in the week now, so I actually had three dishes cooked and prepared. I really had quite the choice about what to post today and just couldn’t make a decision so in the end I opted to go for the dish I made most recently – cream of pesto. It’s not particularly difficult; I’d say that pretty much everyone can throw together a basil pesto, but there was one problem. Basil isn’t that cheap in the winter – especially not for the quantity you’d normally need to make a pesto – and I really love pesto. It’s one of the best things imaginable with pasta and so naturally when there’s pesto to be had I do tend to apply liberal quantities to my plate!
Were it just me, that wouldn’t really be a problem, but let’s not be selfish Charlie! My son, fortunately for me, didn’t seem in the mood for pesto on this day. He kept shaking his head and saying “neh, neh” when I offered it to him, but there are other people to think about. So what does one do when you have a slightly less than ideal quantity of pesto and a number of hungry mouths to feed?
Cream of Pesto
Yup – that’s what you do!
Well, I suppose you could just slosh in a bit of extra olive oil or up the quantity of parmesan, but that is cheating a little, don’t you think? No, a great way to both stretch out a pesto, as well as transforming it into a whole different animal is to add in some cream. Heat it through and it will take the edge off the garlic a little, as well as melt the parmesan down a bit. Cream of pesto ends up being a wonderfully rich, velvety sauce for your pasta, or gnocchi – don’t forget the gnocchi – my goodness I love that stuff!
Speaking of gnocchi…
…it was this blog post that got me started on my little hankering for cream of pesto. Together with gnocchi, it has long been a favourite dish of mine. A restaurant in France I used to frequent served this exact combination which I always enjoyed greatly.
Nipponnin does an amazing job with hers, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to try for so long but keep putting it off. I just keep remembering the time my mother tried to make gnocchi and put them into the boiling water. A few minutes later, the lid was removed to reveal… soup… or something (sorry mum! I’m sure you’ve made it successfully since though). They’d all disintegrated in the hot water, and I know from my own experience that this can happen to anyone. I too tried to make a Swedish potato dumpling and the darn thing fell apart in the water as well. I was going to post about it, and this was about 3 years ago! I still have the draft sitting in my list of pending posts. Unloved and unfinished, but there it sits, mocking me every time I log in to my site. Have you ever had any disasters with things falling apart? My first attempt at falafel did the same thing too, many moons ago!
So no, I did not make the gnocchi, but I made the cream of pesto, and you should too, because it’s great! I used my base pesto recipe which is here. Excuse the photo if you check it out – that was back in 2011 and my goodness it looks bad! Have a wonderful day everyone and I’ll be back again soon!
A wonderfully smooth, velvety sauce - cream of pesto is a great way to stretch out a pesto sauce and make it go that little but further.
- 2 large handfuls of fresh Basil
- 80g Pine Nuts
- 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 75g Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
- 80ml Olive Oil
- Freshly-ground Black Pepper
- 150ml Whipping Cream
- Start off by placing the basil, pine nuts, minced garlic and grated parmesan cheese into a food processor. Blitz while pouring in the olive oil until you've got a rich, fragrant paste.
- Season with salt and pepper and then transfer to a pan.
- Pour in the cream and mix well and heat through on the stove. Serve with your pasta (or gnocchi) of choice!
You can make this the traditional way in a pestle and mortar, but I prefer to use a food processor simply for speed and convenience.