Speedy summer suppers: Pasta with watercress and hazelnut pesto 

Speedy summer suppers: Pasta with watercress and hazelnut pesto

Watercress loves a lovely peppery note to this summery pesto. You can swap the hazelnuts for pistachios, blanched almonds or pine nuts, and add a handful of basil leaves too if you like.


400g dried pasta

30g blanched hazelnuts

100g watercress

1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ lemon, zest and juice

30g finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Place the hazelnuts in a small roasting tin and roast for 8 minutes until golden. Cool for 5 minutes, then roughly chop. This can be done well in advance.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water according to the pack instructions. Scoop out a mugful of the cooking water before draining.
  • Place the watercress in small food processor with the hazelnuts, garlic, oil, lemon zest and juice and parmesan. Season and pulse to a rough paste, scraping down the edges occasionally if needed. (You can also add a little water to loosen if needed.)
  • Tip the hot, drained pasta back into the pan, add the pesto and a good splash of the cooking water. Stir together over a low heat until the pasta is glossy and nicely coated. Divide between plates and serve with extra parmesan.