Sunday, August 12, 2012

Crispy Potatoes with Spicy Pesto

Pesto is one of those versatile sauces that is great to keep on hand for a quick meal—tossed with pasta or as a fragrant topping for fish or meat. Over the years I’ve always sworn by Marcella Hazan’s classic pesto recipe, which is, frankly, infallible.

But recently, when a friend offered me basil from his over-abundant kitchen garden, I felt the urge to tweak Marcella’s recipe for a little extra punch. So I spiked the glistening, emerald pesto with green chillies, and added ginger for additional heat.

I spooned the spicy pesto over golden, crispy oven-roasted potatoes, for a perfectly irresistible finger food.


2 lbs [1 kg] Potatoes, washed and cut lengthwise, skin-on, into 8 pieces each
1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
Sea Salt (to taste)
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spicy Pesto: 
2 cups tightly packed Basil leaves
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Pine nuts
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2-inch piece Ginger, peeled and minced
4 fresh Green Chillies
Sea Salt (to taste)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
[Please note that this yields double the pesto needed for this potato dish. So use half of the pesto with the potatoes, and freeze the rest for later use.] 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450º F (230ºC). Arrange potatoes in one layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle black pepper and sea salt, drizzle with olive oil, and using your hands, toss well to mix. 
  2. Roast in the oven for 30 mins, then stir the potatoes to ensure that they caramelise evenly on all sides. Continue roasting for another 15 mins until golden brown and crispy. 
  3. While the potatoes are roasting, put basil, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, ginger, green chillies, and sea salt in a food processor, and pulse 4–6 times until a smooth paste is formed. Remove pesto into a bowl and gently fold in parmesan. Set aside half the pesto for the potatoes, and freeze the rest for later use. 
  4. Remove potatoes from oven and let sit for 2–3 mins. Spoon pesto onto the potatoes, and toss gently so they are well coated. Serve immediately.

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