Walnut Pesto Two Ways

Two versions that put a quick, healthy, cheaper spin on the usual basil & pine nuts variety – this makes an ideal week-night dinner, and spare pesto will keep well in the freezer. It’s a good way to get healthy nuts into babies and young children, but don’t serve it to babies under six months of age.


Version 1:
Makes enough pesto to cover 6 servings of pasta.
200g walnuts
1/2 pack fresh parsley
200ml creme fraiche
Black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
½ clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed under cold water
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
60g grated parmesan

Version 2:
Makes enough pesto to cover 4 servings of pasta.
30g fresh basil
Juice of ½ lemon
½ clove garlic, crushed
30g Parmesan or vegetarian alternative
100g walnuts
About 150ml good quality olive oil

For version 1: Soak the walnuts in boiling water while you  whizz most of the parsley (keep some to chop and scatter over the finished dish), 30g parmesan, the breadcrumbs and capers in a food processor. Add the walnuts and blitz, then the lemon juice, creme fraiche and pepper, and a little salt.

For version 2: simply whizz the pesto ingredients in a food processor. Don’t add all the olive oil at once – pour it in gradually, stopping to scrape the sides of the food processor down as you go until you reach the right consistency. You might not need it all.

For both: taste, and adjust the flavourings as you prefer – more herbs, parmesan, lemon juice or pepper.

Save a couple of tablespoons of the water you cook your pasta in, and add it to the mix when you mix your pesto through hot, cooked pasta. Version 2 is particularly nice with a tablespoon or two of cream stirred through too. You could run some watercress, rocket or peas through as well, or serve with roast veg.