Richard Clarke runs a fantastic greengrocery business (Clarkes) on Warwick Street, Leamington Spa. It is the sort of shop-door that is worth putting your head round and asking 'What's great?'
Now supermarkets sell you fresh herbs in little plastic sachets. For 70p or so you can buy a little packet of underformed basil or flat leaf-parsley. It seems to be grown for its sachet-fitting qualities.
Go and ask Richard for some of these herbs and you get a huge plastic wallet of basil (it is good to keep basil dry once picked so little alternative to the plastic) and a bunch of parsley the size of a small bouquet. Cost £2.50 for about ten times as much with at least five times the quality. And they were grown 2 miles away.
So the following recipe only works with good ingredients.
5 fluid ounces of extra virgin olive oil
Handful of pine kernels
Tablespoon of capers
Big bunch of flat-leaf parsley leaves (not stalks)
Big handful of basil leaves
1 oz of grated parmesan or similar
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the lot in a blender until it turns into emerald green liquid. Mix with al dente pasta. This should be enough to serve with a pound of the stuff.
I have still got enough basil left for three more goes and enough parsley to re-stock Tescos.