Roasted Aubergine and Walnut Pesto

The unfortunate thing about pesto is that it comes in teeny tiny little jars. Also, there are only a couple around that are vegan and gluten-free. It is so easy to make your own, however, and so much better tasting than the shop bought variety. Most pesto recipes you can just shove into a food processor and blitz until it is ready. This recipe does require the extra step of roasting the aubergine and garlic together first, rather than simply blending everything. Trust me, it’s worth it. When you try it, you’ll see why you went to the trouble.


Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 40 minutes, plus cooling time.

Makes about 500g.

Ingredients:

1 aubergine

1 bulb of garlic

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

60g walnuts, either halves or pieces

30g fresh basil leaves

8 sundried tomato pieces from a jar

2 tbsp tomato puree

75ml olive oil

75ml rapeseed oil

½ tsp salt

Generous dash black pepper


Method:

Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F.

Remove the stalk from the aubergine and cut it in half lengthways. Cut each half in half again so that you have 4 pieces. Now take the garlic bulb and cut it straight through the middle of the cloves, so that each clove is cut in half. The top half of the bulb will probably come apart while doing this. Put the aubergine and garlic into a mixing bowl and add the 3tbsp of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Mix around until everything is coated and then transfer to a baking tray. Cook in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes, turning the aubergine and garlic half after 25 minutes to avoid them getting too dry. The aubergine is ready when you can easily slip a sharp knife into the flesh. Set aside to cool.

Once the aubergine and garlic have cooled, remove the aubergine flesh with a spoon and put it into a food processor. Pop out all the roasted garlic flesh from the bottom half of the garlic bulb and put those in the food processor also. Refrigerate the remaining garlic from the top half for another dish.

Put the walnuts, basil, sundried tomatoes and tomato puree into the food processor and then pour in the two oils. Pulse on full speed for a second or two at a time until you have a fully amalgmated mixture, then add the salt and pepper and pulse again.

Transfer the pesto to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to a week.


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