Made in minutes, Hazelnut Pesto with Thyme is a buttery, zesty twist on the classic. Just like all good pesto, it is wonderful served with pasta but it can also turn into the star ingredient in your savoury bakes.
Basil pesto. Gloriously green. Lip-smackingly good. This classic is, without a doubt, a firm family favourite in my household.
But it’s such a favourite that I have to be careful not to rely on it too much. I have endless uses for this magic sauce and frequently use it in dips, sandwiches, savoury pastries, pasta, lasagne, and salad dressings.
If I can squeeze a little green pesto into daily life, I will jolly well will do.
But just occasionally, I like to remind myself that there is more to the world of pesto that this one variant. And that is where hazelnut pesto comes in.
I’ve been devising some savoury palmiers ready for Valentine’s Day and although I wanted to include some pesto in them, I needed a more subtle variety than my punchy green love could ever claim to be. I wanted something gentle, nutty and herby to resonate with – but not overpower – the other flavours included in these savoury palmiers.
Hazelnut Pesto with Thyme is the ideal accomplice to these ingredients.
Ingredients for Hazelnut Pesto
Those buttery, almost sweet hazelnuts team up with lemony, peppery thyme and olive oil amazingly well.
But toss in a handful of extra delights:
and we’re well on our way to pesto heaven.
How to Make Pesto
There are two ways to make pesto – by hand or in a food processor.
Wonderful results can be achieved by finely chopping the fresh ingredients by hand and mixing with olive oil. This technique will take 20-30 minutes and is the preferred method of many a true Italian.
The result will be a pesto that is superior in both texture and flavour than one whizzed up in a food processor or with a stick blender.
I, however, am a little on the lazy side and generally use my food processor to do the chopping for me.
For this thyme based pesto, I tend to grate my cheese and lemon zest before adding to the processor bowl as well as stripping the thyme leaves from their stems.
And the beauty is that the food processor does all of the hard work for us. This baby is ready in mere minutes.
I prefer to “pulse’ my ingredients to avoid over-blending them and just drizzle in the oil oil during the last few turns.
How to Use Hazelnut Pesto
I created this recipe specifically for my savoury palmiers. But I’m pleased to report that this thyme based pesto also makes a highly successful marriage with a bowl of steaming pasta. Just like all great pestos should.
The sweet, nutty, lemony and herby flavours, with a hint of cheese and garlic naturally wrap themselves around the sleek, tender pasta. Bliss.
Other ways to use this nutty thyme pesto recipe include:
- tossed through gnocchi
- in a potato salad
- to top a pizza bianca in place of fresh herbs
- stirred through mashed potato
- served with fish
Find More Recipes Using Nuts:
- Cherry, Goats Cheese & Almond Salad
- Nutty Pear and Chocolate Crumble
- Chai Spiced Candied Nuts
- Pistachio & Lemon Battenberg
5 Minute Hazelnut Pesto with Thyme
- 100 g/ 2/3 cup Blanched hazelnuts
- 50 g/ 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 Small clove garlic
- Zest 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
- 30 g/ 3/4 cup Fresh thyme
- 100 ml/ 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Strip the leaves from the thyme
- Finely grate the parmesan
- Peel the garlic and roughly chop
- Put the hazelnuts into a foodprocessor (use the small bowl if you have one or use a stick blender) and pulse until course
- Add the cheese, thyme, garlic, zest and lemon juice. Pulse until desired consistency is reached, scrapping down the bowl as required
- Add the oil and some salt & pepper to taste. Briefly pulse to combine
- Best eaten fresh but can be stored for up to 3 days