Smarter than your average pesto sauce

Smarter than your average pesto sauce

We were a little hesitant to use the word pesto in our beloved creamy pesto sauce for pasta. It bears so little resemblance to the supermarket stuff in a jar. Canola oil? Acidity regulator? Maize soluble fibre? Whey powder? No. Just no. Back on the shelf you go, you rascally khaki imposter. 

At its simplest, pesto is a gloriously green emulsion of basil, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan and pinenuts, pounded into a paste by a nonna with formidable forearms. We have taken a few liberties – swapping out cashews for the sometimes problematic pinenuts and adding baby spinach for a (natural!) green boost and creme fraiche to give a smooth, velvety texture, all the better for coating pasta. 

But if you thought pesto was only good for pasta, just you wait! 

Here’s three ways with our creamy pesto sauce. 

With pasta, naturalmente:

Toss warmed pesto through just cooked pasta for the simplest, most universally pleasing of no-brainer dinners. Be generous with the Parmesan – and make enough for leftovers: it makes a great pasta salad for lunch, slicked with a little extra olive oil and tossed with a handful of rocket or baby spinach. 

Creamy pesto sauce with pasta

With gnocchi:

There are so many good varieties of gnocchi available – or have a crack at making it yourself – you've saved all that time by not making the pesto! 

Creamy pesto sauce with gnocchi

Potato gnocchi recipe

Serves 4 

Ingredients Method

500g potatoes, skin on 

1 cup plain flour 

0.5 tsp salt 

1 egg 

Boil potatoes till tender. When cool enough to handle, remove skins and pass through a ricer. 

Mix flour and salt on a flat surface or large mixing bowl, make a well and add the potatoes and egg. Bring together, with as little working as possible, into a soft dough – if it’s too sticky, add more flour. 

Roll into a 2 cm wide rope and cut at 2 cm intervals, sprinkling with flour to prevent sticking. Let the gnocchi rest for 20 minutes. 

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil and drop in the gnocchi. Remove as soon as they float to the surface and drain. 

Mix with the warmed pesto sauce – and don’t hold back on the Parmesan! 


As a sauce for chicken, lamb, vegies, you name it.. 

Creamy pesto sauce with chicken

A standard-issue pesto blobbed on protein as an unadulterated sauce can be a bit intense, but the creme fraiche in our version lends it lightness and elegance. Dollop a spoonful of warmed sauce on the plate, give it a cheffy pass (let’s not call it a smear, shall we?) with the back of a spoon, and top with sliced, cooked chicken breast, grilled lamb cutlets or pan-fried flathead fillets. Ooh, or top with a pile of grilled eggplant, goats cheese and red capsicum. Bring back the eighties! We love a stack!! 


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