This autumn pesto dish was inspired by a great organic veggie grower, Signora Francesca Belfiglio, on a 1-day Italian cookery workshop held at the Abruzzo restaurant B&B, Casale Centurione. We raided her heaving organic orto (vegetable garden) to fill our baskets with her impressive summer harvest and create her favourite courgette pesto with 0 food miles. Our selected courgettes were fried in plenty of extra virgin olive oil with garlic till the courgettes gleamed in their squishiness and were then whizzed in a blender, with basil and some lightly toasted pine-nuts mixed in whole afterwards… Delicious and a dish I tried the very next day in my quest to get green stuff into my little boy. It worked and has become a quick and easy staple and one of his favourite dishes.
However pine-nuts can be pricey, and the cheaper Chinese ones can provoke a terrible reaction, as I know from a friend and are not something to be served up to A’s little friends that could experience the same issues. One day we had no pine-nuts but we did have a large bag of sweet hazelnuts new in at the autumn market, I toasted some instead and behold a budget autumn pesto option that still worked its green magic!
- 6 Courgettes
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 8 Basil Leaves
- 24 Hazelnuts
- Cut the zucchini into quarters and then into chunky pieces and fry in a bath of olive oil with the garlic. It is this which emulsifies the sauce so don't skimp on this as it is sooooo good for you!
- Shell and deskin your hazelnuts if they're fresh by putting then in a bowl of boiling water after removing the shell. If you have bought them in a packet put put them into directly into a heavy bottomed pan to toast.
- In a jug pour your zucchini mixture, add your hazelnuts and basil and whizz with a hand blender till smooth.
- Dress your chosen pasta with this
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