Pesto can be made by substituting many other leaves and herbs, in place of basil so you can have it in any season. I often use rocket or chervil or parsley and even some weeds, like chickweed and dandelion. One of my favourites uses garlic scapes – those long, twirly bits that shoot up from your garden garlic in early summer. Other nuts can be substituted too, using walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and even sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, in place of pine nuts.
100g toasted pine nuts or other nuts (you may use up to 20% seeds. Don’t use more or the mixture changes texture and becomes gluggy, especially with sunflower seeds)
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
A handful of grated mature cheddar or Parmesan or a combination
A large handful of tasty greens, including chickweed, dandelion, self-sown rocket, baby kale, herbs, mizuna etc as above
A good olive oil (probably about ½ cup)
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blend nuts and seeds, garlic, cheese and greens together, then begin trickling in the oil, while the processor runs. Stop when you have a nice purée. Taste and season as necessary with lemon juice, salt and pepper plus extra garlic. If it is too thick, add water while the machine runs.