It's actually based on a recipe from Antonio Carluccio, but what's nice about it is that it's not really a recipe at all, more a guide. It's the kind of thing you can usually throw together at the last minute from pretty much what you have in the garden, so can be invaluable for these sort of quick lunches or light suppers. The core of it is the making of a sort of lightweight pesto to dress pasta. Here's the recipe for two people.
- First get some water on the boil for pasta as normal. Remember water for pasta should be generously salted - most of the salt stays in the water, so it's not all going into you.
- Gather a good handful or two of whatever fresh herbs are growing well, and for that matter whatever you fancy. For this one I had a few leaves of sage, a few of mint, about 10 leaves or so of basil, some parsley and a few sprigs of thyme. In the past I've also used majoram, rosemary, lemon balm, black peppermint, oregano, wild garlic, literally anything will work. Personally I think mint works especially well.
- Next add a few nuts, between 10-20 - usually these would be pinenuts, but for this one I used toasted hazelnuts that I'd kept in a jar left over from winter. Doesn't really matter what, you can pretty much choose whatever you like again.
- Put all these together and roughly chop them, leaving some large pieces of nut and herb here and there (but making sure you're not going to choke anyone!).
- Now get the pasta in the water and cook as normal, usually I'll go for something long like linguine or spaghetti.
- In a separate pan, large enough to add the pasta in later, melt a large knob of butter and a good glug of olive oil. Finally chop a garlic clove (or crush it for a more intense flavour) and add it to the oil on a low heat to infuse.
- Grate a generous handful or two of paremsan, and add it to the herbs, ready to go in with the garlic. Keep a little aside to finish.
- Once the pasta has about a minute or so to go, stir the chopped herbs, nuts and parmesan into the oil, butter and garlic and leave it on the heat to warm through.
- Finally drain the pasta, and toss it into the herby buttery mix - make sure you leave a fair bit of liquid in the pasta, as it will emulsify with the mixture and create a light sauce.
Enjoy - with a nice glass of red, some toasted bread, and good company in the sunshine :-)