Pesto Rice Salad
Just as home-made pesto does such wonders for pasta, so it does for rice too.
This salad can be served warm as a first course and its extremely good as an accompaniment to fish or chicken main-course dishes. Served cold it makes a lovely addition to a selection of salads for a buffet.
Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian 'parmesan-style' cheese is available from Bookhams
This recipe is from Delia's Summer Collection. Serves 4
To make the pesto sauce, place the basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil together with some salt in a mini-chopper and whizz, then push any unblended basil leaves down with a spatula and whizz again until you have a smooth purée.
Then transfer the purée to a bowl and stir in the grated Pecorino Romano cheese. If you don't have a mini-chopper, you can use a large pestle and mortar to pound the basil, garlic and pine nuts to a paste. Slowly add the salt and cheese, then very gradually add the oil until you have obtained a smooth purée. Now add about one quarter of the pesto sauce to the rice in the measuring jug, and stir it around to coat all the grains. Tip the mixture into a shallow saucepan or frying pan with a lid and pour the boiling stock into the jug, then pour this over the rice.
Now turn on the heat and stir with a wooden spoon, adding 1 level teaspoon of salt. Then, when it begins to boil, put the lid on, turn the heat down to low, and let the rice cook for exactly 20 minutes. As soon as it's ready, tip all the rice into a serving bowl, then simply pour in the remaining pesto sauce. Combine the ingredients together, stirring and tossing. At this stage taste and season with salt and pepper.
Finally scatter some torn basil leaves, finely chopped spring onion and then the shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano over the surface of the salad as a garnish If you want to serve the salad cold, add the fresh basil, spring onion and Parmigiano Reggiano just before serving.
If you want to make pesto a few days ahead - cover the surface with some cling film, making sure the cling film actually touches the surface of the sauce, and you can keep it in the fridge for a week.
You will also need a Delia Online Frying Pan or similar with a base measurement of 17cm and a tight-fitting lid.