Vampire pesto pasta
Mr Wilkinson is not too keen on pesto (it’s the pine nuts he doesn’t like) but this is one of my go-to dinner dishes for when there’s not much time to cook. This garlic-free version is good for both vampires and the boys, who – despite saying they don’t like green stuﬀ on their plates – for some reason devour pesto pasta.
300 g (10 1/2 oz) linguine
1/2 broccoli head, cut into florets (optional)
1 handful green beans, trimmed (optional)
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve
Vampire pesto (see below) or 60 g pre-made pesto of your choice
3 tablespoons cashew nuts
1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 bunch basil, leaves only
40 g parmesan cheese, grated
pinch of salt flakes
squeeze of lemon juice
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to cover
To make the pesto, blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor to a rough paste. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if desired.
Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water according to the packet instructions until al dente, adding the broccoli florets and green beans, if using, to the pasta water for the last few minutes. Drain and return to the pan, then toss through half the pesto. Divide among bowls and sprinkle over some grated parmesan to finish.
TIP Spoon the excess pesto into an airtight container, cover the surface with extra oil and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week until needed. At the end of summer I like to scale this recipe up and make it with the last basil of the season, dividing it into portions, freezing it (it’ll keep for 6 months) and defrosting as needed.
Recipe extract from Mr & Mrs Wilkinson's How it is at Home (Hardie Grant) You can follow Sharlee on Instagram @sharleegibb and her hastag #howitisathome for her adventures cooking for kids in a busy household.