Pesto roast potatoes
You something you don’t hear very often? Someone shouting about how much they love potatoes. Sure – they’re potatoes, the sexiest dish on the table they are not – but what if you roast them? Then would you shout about it? What if I told you that pesto roast potatoes is a thing? The only reason for not shouting about them then is that you’re hot-footing it to the kitchen to get the oven on and your food processor out.
Is today another day where you wonder to yourself if I’ve actually lost the plot this time? Hopefully not, because as new potatoes are coming in to season I want to bring you up to speed with a recipe I discovered last autumn and have been fawning over since. By the time you’ve made yours, you’ll be getting your phone out to show people photos of what you’ve made and – if you’ve picked your friends wisely – they will be as excited as you.
Pesto is a well known thing at The Usual Saucepans HQ. Previously it’s appeared in its own right as a recipe, in my cheat’s weeknight pasty pizza, on gnocchi and even in a somewhat strange (but ultimately enjoyable) ménage-à-trois with guacamole and spaghetti. But today we’re all about the pesto roast potatoes.
The premise is pretty simple actually. You take some of those beautiful new potatoes you’ll start seeing in the shops over the next little while (Jersey Royals are in season late March to July, with other breeds coming along behind), roast them with your fat of choice and then get a spoon and indulge in the (surprisingly therapeutic) act crush them up a bit. Then take your freshly made pesto, drizzle liberally over the top and serve.
Actually, there are two ways of doing the crushing. You can do it with the back of a spoon, crushing each one individually, or get it down in a couple of takes by using the bottom of the pan. I leave it up to your discretion as to which approach you take; and too judge which way I did it.
Maybe you’ll get them in to a dish before serving them, but unfortunately mine did not get that far and were eaten straight from the tray. But could you really blame anyone for that? This dish is about on-point flavours, not manners.
These are my favourite new side dish to serve alongside dinner, and hopefully soon they will be yours too. Let me know if you make your own and tag The Usual Saucepans on Facebook and Instagram.Print
These are a glorious treat to put on any table – and step back to hear the ‘oooo!’ and ‘aaah!’ – perfect with a roast or simply with grilled meats or fish. You’ll need a food processor and a large baking sheet. Serves 4.
for the potatoes
- 650-700g new potatoes
- 20ml olive oil
for the pesto
- 2 handfuls of basil
- 1 handful of pine nuts (optional: toasted)
- 1/2 clove of garlic
- 1 handful of freshly grated parmesan
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- squeeze of lemon (optional)
Get a pan of salted water on the boil, rinse your new potatoes (the best ones come with a little dirt on them!) and pop them in the pot. When it comes back to the boil turn to a medium heat and let them cook – it’ll be about 15-20 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 220C.
When your potatoes are cooked (a knife comes out smoothly), quickly drain them. Then return to the pot on the hob – gentle shuffle the pan, this will help get some of the residual moisture off.
Spread the potatoes out over a large baking sheet – and here comes the fun part: crushing. There are two ways to crush the potatoes: 1. Get a spoon and use the back to crack each one individually; 2. use the bottom of the saucepan and get it down in a couple of seconds.
Crush some sea salt flakes over the potatoes, add a few turns of black pepper, then drizzle with about 1 or so tbsp of olive oil. Pop them in the top of the oven and roast for 20 minutes (or so) until they are beautifully golden and crispy.
Whilst the potatoes are roasting, make your pesto. Into your food processor put the pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, oil and salt and pepper. Blitz a little to break the pine nuts down a bit, then add the basil. Pulse until you get a paste. I add in a tablespoon or two of water as well, just to make it easier to pour.
Take them out of the oven and transfer to a serving dish (or just serve on the tray, these are about flavour, not pleasantries!), drizzle over your potatoes and you’ll have a killer dish of pesto roast potatoes.
Best served immediately – scatter with torn basil, pine nuts and lemon wedges, if you’re feeling fancy.
In this recipe, I used: