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A homegrown, homemade pesto for summer

A homegrown, homemade pesto for summer

‘The bitter, peppery bite of rocket takes me back to long alfresco lunches with my friend Maria Fausta’s family in Southern Italy on my first holiday there as a teenager,’ so says Jane Cumberbatch, author, stylist and keen home cook and gardener, when we asked about the inspiration behind the pesto recipe she kindly shared with us. And that’s just it, isn’t it? Oftentimes, it’s the simplest of dishes that evoke the strongest memories. Tomato, basil, balsamic; mackerel, lemon juice, charcoal; rocket, garlic, parmesan and pine nuts. Thoughts of summers past, conjured up in one mouthful.

Jane’s rocket pesto

You can use just about any robustly flavourful leafy green to make pesto – basil is the classic, of course, or there’s cavolo nero or spinach – but Jane’s chosen rocket, partly for its fiery kick and partly because now’s the season when it’s most abundant in her garden at home.

You’ll need:

100g pine nuts

A large handful of rocket, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

75g grated parmesan cheese

150ml extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

Using either a food processor or a pestle and mortar, grind the pine nuts until no whole ones are left and then add the rocket, garlic and parmesan. Mix together, drizzling in the olive oil until the pesto is able to slide off a metal spoon. Stir into hot, freshly drained spaghetti and top with more parmesan if needed.

For more from Jane, head over to our Instagram where you’ll find a trio of films we made together in her garden. And be sure to pre-order her newest book, ‘Pure Style in the Garden’, which is published on 12th August.