You know when you make something that you become a little obsessive about? And you end up eating it several times a week, and making every possible permutation of it. Well that’s pesto for me these days. Since I blogged my Parsley and Almond Pesto recipe back at the beginning of January it’s fair to say my processor’s been turning out an inordinate amount of pesto. But my latest addiction is one made with crumbled Stilton, lightly toasted Walnuts, Walnut Oil and Parsley. Make it. Please. It’s heavenly. And particularly wonderful melted into pasta with a generous serving of roasted mushrooms on the top. It’s also fair to say I have a wee addiction to Roasted Mushrooms. After my success of the Roasted Wild Mushroom Pizza, I’ve been roasting wild and ordinary mushies and adding them to many a Pizza, Risotto, Pasta dish, Bruschetta or Omelette. Believe me once you’ve tried roasting mushrooms you’ll never go back!
And it’s not just me that’s been getting excited about homemade pesto lately. My inspiration for the stilton pesto came from a blog by Marmaduke Scarlett which so happened to win January’s Herbs on Saturday challenge. Thanking you very unkindly for my new addiction! Andrea of the gorgeous Shabby Chick enlightened me to the use of both Kale or Cavelo Nero and Pumpkin Seeds in a pesto. Urvashi from the Botanical Baker uses Sunflower Seeds and Comte in her Parsley Pesto. Anneli of Delicieux offered a Walnut & Basil Pesto and served it with a fun Spaghetti Squash! And she also recommends Mache Lettuce. And very recently Under the Blue Gum Tree showcased her delightful Spinach & Walnut Pesto and 8&Ruth won February’s Herbs on Saturday with her wonderful Themes of Wild Garlic Pesto blog. Also in the same competition was a highly intriguing Seaweed Pesto
from Elizabeth’s Kitchen.
If you’ve never made your own pesto then I urge you to set aside a few minutes and do so. And minutes is all it takes, really. And I wholeheartedly promise you it will be sublime. As for what to put in, then get creative and frugal!. Clear your fridge and store cupboards. So this is what you need, intending to be in no means exhaustive!:
Some sort of Nut – Walnuts, Pine kernels, Cashews, Almonds, Hazlenuts, Pecans all work marvellously. Or even a Seed – Pumpkin, Sunflower
A Hard Cheese – Parmesan, Grana Padano, Pecorino, Mature Cheddar, Mature Manchego, Comte, Stilton – anything with a strong flavour really!
Something Green & Raw – Rocket, Spinach, Watercress, Kale, Chard Leaves, Parsley, Basil, Mint, Mache/Lambs Lettuce, Wild Garlic
Garlic – Unfortunately no pesto is quite right without a little garlic!
An Oil – Olive, Sunflower, Hemp, Walnut, Rape
Salt, Pepper and possibly a little Lemon Juice
Crush all together in a Pestle & Mortar or like me take the easy option of blitzing with a stick blender or food processor. And there you have it a bowl of your very own pick and mix pesto!
And pesto isn’t just for pasta! It’s perfect smothered on a pizza base in place of a tomato sauce – I have my Rocket Pesto Pizza coming very shortly for that. It’s great on puff pastry as a tart base (A Couple of Tomato Tarts), perfect paired with salad or Goats Cheese or both in a sandwich, spread on toast or muffins with creme cheese (and avocado if you want to be really extravagant!) and glorious on a jacket potato.
As luck would have it Homemade Pesto is the theme of this month’s Pasta Please, a monthly challenge held by Jacqueline of the super veggie blog Tinned Tomatoes, and this month hosted by Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes. So naturally I shall be entering this very pesto-ey blog! I’m also entering it to Lavender and Lovage’s Herbs on Saturday challenge, this month hosted by London Busybody.
Stilton, Walnut & Parsley Pesto Spaghetti topped with Roast Garlic & Thyme Mushrooms
Great for: Bigger Kids, Grown Ups, Family Dinners, Dinner Parties, Mid-Week Suppers, Vegetarians
For the Mushrooms:
300g of Mushrooms, Wild Mushrooms would be amazing but Chestnuts or even ordinary Buttons will happily do
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
4 Garlic cloves, skin removed and each clove cut into 3 chunks
a few sprigs of fresh Thyme, leaves removed
Salt and Pepper
For the Pesto:
60g of Walnuts
60g of Stilton, crumbled
40g of Parsley leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
a clove of Garlic, finely chopped
75ml of Walnut Oil or Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
For the Pasta:
400g of Spaghetti, Linguine or Tagliatelle
Pre-heat your oven to 200 c.
Tear or cut the mushrooms into bite sized pieces. I leave button sized whole and Chestnuts I half or quarter if particularly big. Place on an oven tray along with the garlic pieces and drizzle over the olive oil. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Using your hands give everything a good mix ensuring the mushrooms are evenly coated.
Place the mushrooms in the oven for 20 minutes, and stir and turn about half way through.
Whilst the mushrooms are roasting cook your pasta to packet instructions and prep your pesto. Start with toasting the walnuts. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat until hot, throw in the walnuts and lightly toast for a few minutes, turning and shaking very frequently – you only want a light colouring and toasting to boost flavour and no burnt black bits.
Now place all the pesto ingredients (including the toasted walnuts) bar the seasoning in a food processor and pulse a few times. If you don’t have a processor use a deep sided bowl and a stick blender or a pestle and mortar. I prefer a fairly coarse texture so you can really taste and identify the walnuts. Once you have your desired texture, taste and season with plenty of black pepper and a little salt to suit.
Once the pasta’s cooked drain and run the pesto through it, I use a pair of tongues to do this. Place the pasta evenly on four plates or bowls and serve with a pile of the roasted mushrooms on the top. Enjoy!
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March 8th, 2013 at 11:24 am
mmmm looks fab. Is it dinner time yet? I’m hoping to squeeze in a late entry for Pasta please (yes I plan my meals that far in advance) but I’m keeping my secret ingredient under wraps 😉 it’ll be my first pesto, fingers crossed it will be as lovely as yours!
March 9th, 2013 at 9:25 am
Once you make your own pesto you never go back! Amazing stuff, and so ridiculously quick and simple to prep.
March 8th, 2013 at 12:55 pm
Thanks for the mention. Seriously that looks so good. I also just fancy getting a big fat field mushroom and slavering it with your stilton pesto and just gobbling that up. Bookmarked to try in the very near future… xxx
March 9th, 2013 at 9:28 am
Oh would be perfect on a big fat field mushroom! Stilton, walnuts and mushrooms are definitely a match made in foodie heaven.
March 8th, 2013 at 12:57 pm
Looks completely yummy Louisa. Funnily enough I just made another pesto yesterday – parsley & pumpkin seeds this time. I’m addicted too, so handy to have in the fridge. Must try some of your roasted mushrooms with it. And thanks for mention! x
March 9th, 2013 at 9:30 am
Thanks fellow pesto addict! Good to know there’s a few of us around 🙂
March 8th, 2013 at 6:41 pm
[…] 8) Stilton, Walton and Parsley Pesto with Roasted Mushrooms […]
March 8th, 2013 at 8:08 pm
Eating meatless meals wouldn’t be much of a penance if you could have food like that every day! I love the combination of walnuts and blue cheese, especially with green beans.
March 9th, 2013 at 9:36 am
I know what you mean, I could so easily go veggie with dinners like this. And actually do so from week to week sometimes without missing meat in any way.
March 8th, 2013 at 8:28 pm
I really love the combination of stilton and walnuts. Adding mushrooms sounds like a good idea too…
March 9th, 2013 at 9:39 am
Thanks Fiona, it is a VERY good idea, though I fear a bit too addictive!
March 8th, 2013 at 10:57 pm
Thanks for reminding me about the versatility of pesto creations. I must admit I always think of it as a summer recipe when herbs are abundant, but that needn’t be the case given the diversity of ingredients you highlight. Your recipe combination is particularly appealing, thanks.
March 9th, 2013 at 9:44 am
Until recently it was only a Summer & Autumn recipe for me too, using up all the basil before the frosts arrived. But it’s seriously good with almost anything green and unbelievably versatile.
March 10th, 2013 at 11:16 pm
This recipe has so many ingredients that I love and my daughter hates (mushrooms, walnuts, stilton…) – but looks so good, I’m going to have to try making it. Yet another one for an evening when she’s out at a friends for tea!
March 11th, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Thanks so much for the mention and posting your delicious pesto recipe. I love the idea of some roasted mushrooms as an accompaniment. I am pinning this one to try.
March 12th, 2013 at 3:46 pm
The mushrooms really finish if off perfectly, but then I am ever so slightly addicted to them!
March 12th, 2013 at 11:31 pm
What an inspirational post Lou! I’ve got all excited about experimenting with pesto now. And can’t wait for spring to properly arrive so we can make big batches of wild garlic pesto…
March 13th, 2013 at 1:34 pm
I’ve actually yet to try Wild Garlic Pesto, but I bet it’s sublime. And more fuel for my Pesto addiction!
March 20th, 2013 at 7:42 pm
Stilton is one of my favourite cheeses, especially served with mushrooms so I am going to have to try this one day when I am home alone for dinner as my OH doesn’t eat cheese and doesn’t like mushrooms! Thanks for entering this into Pasta Please. I made my first ever pesto this month and with your helpful little guide above and all the entries so far I’ve got plenty of inspiration for the future 🙂
March 22nd, 2013 at 8:54 am
If you’re a big stilton fan then you must make this! Get your OH out for the night and treat yourself, it’s heavenly. Especially with the roasted mushrooms.
April 9th, 2013 at 8:23 am
[…] is Louisa at Chez Foti who happens to be a bit of a pesto aficionado. I love the look of her stilton, walnut and parsley pesto and will be trying it soon. In this same blog post Louisa helpfully listed a whole menu of ideas […]