I was browsing through a food magazine (ABC delicious, October 2009) and came across a recipe called Chimichurri, a vibrant green Argentinian sauce made with fresh herbs. This recipe is adapted from acclaimed Sydney chef, Matt Moran's latest recipe book, When I get home. Right away, I thought of the herbs growing wild in my back garden. I could whip up something like that with the abundance of green, herby leaves in my garden, and toss it with some pasta, a bit like pesto with pasta. Hmmm... just the thought of it makes my mouth water.
It's been a little while since I tended to my vegetable garden and herb patch and just the other day, when I took the washing out, I saw the bunches of flat leaf parsley, coriander and mint bobbing up and down with the wind. There were also thyme, sage, rosemary, spring onions, vietnamese mint and lemon balm. I love springtime. Things tend to grow, exponentially.
1/4 bunch coriander, leaves picked
1/2 bunch basil, leaves picked
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
1 tsp ground cumin
5 confit garlic cloves
1 eschalot, chopped
150ml olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, whizz until smooth.
I made little adjustments to the recipe, like substituting basil with mint and 1/2 a red onion instead of an eschalot. I saute the onion in a hot fry pan with a splash of olive oil and cumin seeds, just to soften the taste of the onion and bring out the aroma of the cumin. And I omitted the red wine vinegar. I also doubled (or maybe tripled) the quantity of all the ingredients and made a large batch to keep.
To make the garlic confit, bake whole garlics in their skins in an ovenproof dish for about 20 minutes at 150 degrees Celcius. I tossed in some walnuts in the last 10 minutes to toast. This is for the final dish that I was making the sauce for. (It's becoming more and more like pesto, no?)
Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain. Then in a separate fry pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add 2 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and saute until toasty.Throw in a handful or two of the cooked spaghetti and 2 heaped tablespoon of Chimichurri sauce. Stir until well combined. Toss in some cooked green peas and walnuts. Serve with shavings of pecorino or parmesan.
It was quite a simple and cheap meal to throw together, with all ingredients from the backyard or pantry staple. And the boys didn't even know they're munching on green, leafy, herby goodness. All they know is that it's green spaghetti!