I always have a jar of pesto sitting in my refrigerator. It’s the perfect condiment to have around and can bring together meals in a snap – I use it in everything from soups, as a pasta sauce, roasting meats and vegetables with, and even stir a dollop into my ratatouille base (have you tried this? You need to try this).
This recipe is a slight riff on a pesto rosso or pesto made with sun-dried tomatoes and almonds in place of pine nuts. Basil would normally be the standard herb of choice in both versions, but I decided to go with coriander (there is a touch of basil, but mostly coriander). Albeit an unconventional choice in a pesto, coriander and tomato are used together in most—if not all—Indian dishes, and we know that they are a great pairing. In a sauce with the bold notes of Parmesan and olive oil, though? I wasn’t too sure.
I’d be lying if I told you that this was my intended plan from the beginning. I set out to make a traditional pesto rosso—using basil. It was only after I had my tomatoes dried and ready to go that I realized my basil plants had suffered a minor heat stroke thanks to the soaring temperatures here in Chennai. Two stalks were all I could salvage. So..coriander? There was the risk of it being too herbal and grassy (?), but I wouldn’t know until I tried it. The fact that I’ve made this pesto twice since, is testament to how well that little experiment panned out!
I threw in a green chilli for heat, and the nuts in question can be any kind you like. I went with a combination of cashew nuts, walnuts and almonds this time, but I switch it up based on whatever I have on hand/I’m in the mood for. And that’s exactly what I would recommend you do.