Simon Bryant's Vegies
Author: Simon Bryant
Warrigal Green And Desert Lime Pesto With Wholemeal Pasta
Free recipe from Simon Bryant's Vegies by Simon Bryant, Warrigal Green and Desert Lime Pesto with Wholemeal Pasta, page 100.
A little practice cooking with native Australian ingredients will bring great rewards. This recipe features a few harder-to-get ingredients, but I say get used to eating them – they’re the future! The beauty of the native ingredients in this dish is that they stand up to the robust wholemeal pasta, which can sometimes overpower pasta sauces with its earthiness.
Warrigal greens are a leafy vegetable similar to spinach. As an alternative, good old English spinach would suffi ce. Some caution should be taken with warrigal greens as the leaves contain toxic oxalic acid (also found in rhubarb leaves), which can be harmful for some people if consumed in large quantities. To remove the oxalic acid, it’s a good idea to blanch the leaves fi rst. Sea parsley is a bit like parsley on steroids. (You can substitute dark-green, hardy fl at-leaf parsley, but you will need to use double the quantity.) Desert limes are punchier and sourer than regular tahitians, so my substitute would be a small preserved lemon. These native limes freeze really well, so grab a bunch if you see them (they also make the greatest addition to vodka and tonic, so they won’t go to waste). I seem unable to kill my warrigal greens and sea parsley no matter how much love I don’t give them. The seedlings are available from good nurseries, but if you just want to buy some to try, get Googling (see Ingredients).
500 g wholemeal or spelt pasta
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt flakes and cracked black pepper
Shaved parmesan, to serve
Warrigal Green and Desert Lime Pesto
250 g warrigal greens, leaves picked, baby leaves reserved to garnish
1 large handful sea parsley leaves and stalks, roughly chopped, a few leaves reserved to garnish
Juice of 3 lemons
1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to cover
200 g macadamias
About 30 desert limes, plus a few halved limes to garnish
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt flakes and cracked black pepper
3/4 cup (60 g) grated parmesan
- To make the pesto, first blanch the warrigal greens in a large saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, then rinse them in cold water. Drain well and squeeze out excess liquid. Roughly chop the blanched greens and the sea parsley and place them in a food processor with the lemon juice and a little olive oil. Blend until the greens are roughly pureed. Add the macadamias, limes and garlic and continue to blend until the mixture looks like crunchy peanut butter. Continue blending slowly while drizzling in the remaining olive oil until you have a coarse pesto, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the parmesan and pulse to blend through, then check the seasoning. Transfer the pesto to sterilised jars (see page 223). Let it settle to remove any air bubbles, then cover with olive oil. This makes about 750 g of pesto. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 months. If you want to eat the pesto as a dip, add a little more oil to thin it down.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, then toss it in a little olive oil to prevent it from clumping together. Fold in 100 g of pesto per serve, drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper.
- Make a salad of the reserved warrigal green baby leaves, sea parsley and desert limes. Season with salt to taste, then add a little olive oil and pepper.
- Divide the pasta among bowls and garnish with the salad. Serve with shaved parmesan and a small bowl of extra pesto to the side, if you like.