Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Chilli Pesto

Now that our daughter is little older she likes to stay up a little later and eat her evening meal with my husband and I when he gets home from work. The only downside to this is that she doesn't really like very spicy food. She will tolerate a mild curry or hint of chilli but there are days when I need fire in my belly and mild just won't do. So I decided to devise a chilli pesto recipe. 

I wanted to find something with a robust heat but also a depth of flavour. These musings led me to pasta puttanesca. This traditional Italian pasta sauce delivers on all flavour levels; sweet, salty, hot and sour.  So, after a few childish moments grinning whilst considering the English translation of this dish (whore's pasta) and overcoming my urge to call this pimp's pesto (I am not proud of myself!) I got down to testing a pesto recipe based on puttanesca. It worked a treat. It is delicious stirred through pasta, as you would expect given its provenance. It is also a perfect companion to bread and cheese and will add a fiery intensity to tagines, curries or a steaming bowl of noodles.

For the pesto (enough for 1 jar)

1-3 chillies (depends on their strength and your tolerance)
4-5 cloves of garlic
A handful of black olives 
A handful of sun dried tomatoes
A handful of capers
A handful of mint
A handful of oregano
Sea salt & black pepper
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Olive Oil 

Put all of the ingredients and a few drops of olive oil into a food processor and chop them finely (but not to a puree), you may need to scrape the sides a few times.

Once the ingredients are finely chopped, gradually add some more olive oil whilst stirring until you have a pesto like consistency that you are happy with.

Spoon the pesto into a sterilized jar and cover with a layer of olive oil. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

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