Shelling cobnuts is a time consuming task but by the time I had reached the last of the nuts I had become quite proficient at cracking the shells using a meat tenderiser, one swift whack and off the shells came. I dry toasted all but a handful of the shelled nuts in a hot pan until they were golden brown, the smell of toasted nuts was too good to resist nibbling on a few as I grated some Parmesan.Once The nuts had cooled I added them to the blender along with a large bunch of parsley, a big handful of grated Parmesan and a generous quantity of olive oil which I added in a steady trickle until the consistency looked just right.
Served tossed through tagliatelle pasta with a handful of wild rocket leaves, a few tomatoes and sprinkling of chopped raw cobnuts for a bit of crunch this made a delicious alternative to the usual basil pesto. If you can't find cobnuts this would work almost as well with good hazelnuts.
Cobnut (or hazelnut) pesto recipe (Added to pasta will serve at least 4)
- 450g/1lb cobnuts in there shell (or about 200g shelled nuts)
- A large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
- A good handful of grated Parmesan
- The best olive oil you have
- Shell the nuts and toast in a hot dry pan until golden brown, nuts burn very easily so watch them!
- Set the nuts aside to cool while you grate the Parmesan cheese
- Add the cooled toasted nuts, parsley (stalks and all), Parmesan and a good slug of olive oil to a blender, blend everything together to a paste and add more oil until the consistency is right, it should be quite loose not thick or dry.
- Toss through pasta or use in any recipe where pesto is called for
Alternatively you can use a pestle and mortar to make this, follow the steps above but grind everything in the mortar.