Alice Mirabel Helme and Ambika Seth, the directors at CAARA, firmly believe that pesto goes with just about anything (and we agree). They use it in warm panini, on layered tagliatelle, and simple crostinis. Ambika and Alice swear by growing your own basil, and using fresh pine nuts and high-quality olive oil. Head to NicoCaara (or order a jar direct from them) for a taste of their version which is, we swear, amongst the best we’ve ever had. It’s so good, you want to try replicating it in your own home.
Revealing CAARA’s secret recipe is not in sync with our culinary ethic, but here’s a recipe recommended by them for a pesto that could compare.
You will need:
Pine nuts: 50g
Garlic: 2 cloves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 720 grams
Parmigiano Reggiano: 250 grams
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix fresh basil, pine nuts and garlic in a mortar. Do not blend till smooth – texture is better. Add salt and three quarters of the olive oil. You can add the rest of the olive oil on the top for more flavour. After this, the pesto will be ready to bottle. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, a food processor will do just fine.
Serving suggestion: Pesto Linguine
Cook your linguine until al dente. Strain the pasta and keep some of your pasta water aside. Add a dash of pasta water into the pesto (pesto should be room temperature and off the heat). Add pasta to the pesto.
Remember that pasta and pesto are never mixed together on the fire, so everything needs to be done very quickly. Serve immediately when mixed, top with fine parmesan or pecorino for final touch. We like some fresh black pepper on it too.