When I think of pesto my mind immediately sees plump basil leaves, pine nuts, a mound of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and smashed garlic bound together with olive oil. But when we think ‘outside the box’, a funny thing happens…we tend to experiment. There are oodles of options out there when rethinking the term pesto. And to get you thinking along these lines, visit Rachel Sanders 16 Things You Can Turn Into Pesto. She’s right when she says “as long as you have all the basic components that make pesto, the central vegetable can be almost anything you want. And you can even skip the cheese or the nuts if they don’t fit into your personal diet plan”. As an example, here’s a coriander pesto I served atop sweet potato soup. Pepperoni pesto is definitely taking old world pesto to new levels of gastronomy. If you like pepperoni, you’ll find this dish very addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
150g pepperoni, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (more if you like)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Serve this with sliced ciabatta, smear it on chicken, use as a pasta sauce, dip etc. Increase or decrease the ingredients to suit your palate. Enjoy!