Last night was the first warm night here in Melbourne. We still needed a light coat but the breeze had warmth to it. And today I am posting this from my backyard where the cat lounges in the sunshine and I’m sporting bare legs. Bare legs. Thank goodness. Is it too early to plant the tomatoes? Maybe this year I’ll plant a fenceful of basil, instead of the fenceful of mint we have down the side of the house. One Summer when Sarah and I lived in our house opposite the park I had such a successful crop of basil plants that any visitor left with a fragrant green bouquet. So much basil, and what to do with it all? Pesto is a little bit 1992, but it’s so good, especially on this raw linguini that takes advantage of the last of the winter produce and combines it with the taste of hot summer days.
The linguini has a nice crunch to it, al dente for sure, without even the worry of cooking anything at all. All that’s needed is fresh, preferably organic produce. I love the look of a bunch of yellow, purple, orange heirloom carrots, with their frilly green tops poking out of my market basket. Adding the carrots to slivers of yellow and purple beetroot make such a pretty rainbow in the bowl.
Raw Winter Vegetable Linguini w Walnut Pesto
for the pesto:
(Adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion)
¾ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbsp walnuts,
1 cup of basil, packed tightly
¼ cup parsley
1 tsp salt
80g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
for the linguini:
2 small red beetroots
2 heirloom carrots
1 yellow heirloom beetroot
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted, rubbed of their skins and chopped roughly
In a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend together the olive oil, garlic, walnuts, salt and herbs. When chopped evenly, scrape into a bowl and mix in cheese. If not using immediately store in a jar with a little extra olive oil poured over the top.
Create the raw linguini by peeling strips of beetroot. Put into a bowl of cold water to keep linguini crunchy and fresh. Peel the carrot and yellow beets and also keep in the cold water until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, drain the linguini and mix the three colours together. Add hazelnuts and enough pesto to coat the linguini, toss.