Sundried tomato pesto

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This is hardly a pesto at all, if you think of a pesto as having cheese, nuts and herbs as the main ingredients. But it does have olive oil as the liquid component and it is used like a pesto - as a sauce, a dressing on pasta, a spread on bread and crostini etc. This basic recipe will easily take on board other flavours: herbs, chillies, the classic pesto tastes of pinenuts and parmesan. One of my favourite uses for this is as stored sunshine in a sauce for winter foods, like the spinach, leek and stilton tart.

Ingredients

  • 80 g sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 200-250 mls olive oil

Method

SOAK THE TOMATOES in just enough hot water to cover them for 20 minutes, then drain off the liquid. If you foresee yourself making any soups, sauces, stews or the like in the immediate future that would benefit from some sweetish tomato water, save the liquid, otherwise pour it away. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a coarse puree. Pour in the olive oil and blend briefly. As with the tapenade, store the pesto as a thick puree, with a thin layer of olive oil on top, leaving you the option of diluting it to suit its many uses.