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You’ll find a tempting assortment of AIP pestos on the internet I’m sure, but I want to relish in a bulkier texture that is missing from the traditional pine nuts. And I crave the salinity that a good parmesan would provide: bacon! That’s what has the rustic saltiness I’m after and when it’s cooked until bronzed and crispy then cooled till brittle, a short burst in the food processor results in that covetable granular crunch.
Quick, simple and totally memorable, this bacon pesto keeps for several days in the fridge. It will firm as it sits there though, so bring it back to life with a splash more oil and a good stir. Then, once you’ve had the pleasure of this recipe, think about using the pesto for other dishes — swirled into mashed celeriac; spooned atop grilled meats, fish and piping hot baked sweet potatoes; or added to hearty soups and stews. Stir in a little more oil and you’ve got yourself an interesting salad dressing, not to mention a versatile addition to your recipe arsenal. The list of possibilities is as long as your imagination!
- 10 rashers smoked bacon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup mint leaves, packed
- ½ cup basil leaves, packed
- ¾ cup flat leaf parsley, packed
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 3 large zucchini
- Fine sea salt to taste
- Preheat the broiler.
- Lay the bacon rashers on a large baking tray and broil for 10 to 12 minutes until crispy.
- Transfer to a large plate lined with absorbent kitchen paper and allow to cool and harden.
- Pour the fat into a small container.
- Once the bacon is crunchy, break rashers into large pieces and put into a food processor, together with the remaining pesto ingredients. Blitz until you have a fairly loose paste with small grain-sized bacon chunks for texture.
- Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini noodles. Cut the ends off each zucchini and peel the skin if you wish (I didn’t). Using a spiralizer or a julienne peeler, make "spaghetti" from each one, snipping midway to prevent them being too long.
- Heat a tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a large sauté pan (reserving any more for another use), add the zucchini and cook for around 5 minutes on a low-medium heat until tender.
- Put noodles into a colander and drain well.
- Now, turn off the heat, wipe out the sauté pan with kitchen paper and return the zucchini to the pan. Add the pesto and mix well so the noodles are evenly coated.
- Have a quick taste and add salt if needed, though you may find your bacon makes it salty enough.
- Serve immediately.