When I was little, and, admittedly, not so little, pesto pasta was my ultimate comfort food. In fact, it still sort of is! Just imagine, you are getting home after a long day, it’s raining, you’re tired, you just want to hop in your pjs, put on some rubbish tv and tuck into a big huge bowl of steaming pesto pasta, covered in cheese.
Sounds like heaven to me!
This is the lighter, more grown up (gluten free) version. It tastes just as good, if not better- trust me! And it’s much much better for you. Brown rice is much easier to digest than its white equivalent (and, not surprisingly, pasta!) and it’s full of nutrients such a potassium, calcium and fibre. It’s also really rich in antioxidants.
Topped with homemade basil pesto, grilled courgette and a sprinkling of feta, it’s literally the perfect comfort food- comforting you and your body!
Pesto Brown Rice with Courgette and Feta
for the pesto:
1 large bunch of basil
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts
pinch of salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz until they form a sort of runny paste. Start with just a small amount of olive oil, and add more if you think it needs it. You don’t want it to be too oily, but it should be fairly runny so it is easy to mix into the rice.
1 large courgette
clove of garlic, finely chopped
about 1/2 a cup of brown rice (will feed two- just add more of everything if you are feeding more people)
small wedge of feta
salt and pepper
Start cooking the brown rice. It is a good idea to rinse it beforehand to get rid of the starch. Cook it as per the cooking instructions on the packet, or as you normally would.
While the rice is cooking, cut your courgette into thing strips, lengthways, so that it looks a bit like wide ribbons. Heat a tiny splash of olive oil in a griddle pan (or a normal saucepan if you don’t have one) and add your garlic. When the pan is hot, turn it down to medium heat and place the courgettes in it. They will take about 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on how thinly you cut them. You can keep turning them to make sure both sides are cooked. You want them slightly chargrilled but not too burnt!
When they are all cooked, place them on a plate. When the rice is cooked, spoon a generous serving into each bowl and stir in a good dollop of the pesto. Cut the courgettes into smaller pieces, about bitesize, and mix these into the rice. Finally, crumble the feta over and add a basil leaf to decorate. Season with salt and pepper if needed, cuddle up in front of the TV and enjoy!