- A 25g bag of sunflower seeds
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lemon
- 2 large handfuls of baby leaf spinach
- A handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
- A 250g punnet of vine tomatoes
- An 80g pot of black olives
- A 200g bag of chifferini
- 3½ tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Large frying pan
- Blender or food processor (optional)
- Large pan with a lid
Start by making your pesto. Warm a dry frying pan over a medium heat. When it’s hot, tip in the sunflower seeds. Toast them, shaking the pan occasionally, for 4-5 mins till golden. Tip into a food processor or blender.
Peel and lightly crush the garlic. Zest the lemon. Add them to the sunflower seeds with the spinach and most of the parsley leaves (save a few for garnishing). Season well with salt and pepper.
Add 3 tbsp oil. Pulse a few times till you have a smooth pesto sauce (see our tip for how to make the pesto if you don’t have a processor or blender).
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Slice the tomatoes into wedges. Halve the olives.
When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Simmer for 8 mins till the pasta is cooked but not really soft – it should be tender but still have some bite.
While the pasta cooks, warm the frying pan again over a medium heat. Toss the tomato wedges with ½ tbsp oil and some salt and pepper. Tumble into the pan. Fry for 5 mins, turning once or twice, till they soften. Add the olives. Heat for 2-3 mins.
Quickly drain the chifferini and return to the pan (don’t worry if it’s still a little wet). Scrape in the pesto. Toss to coat and warm through for 2-3 mins. Divide between 2 warm bowls. Top with the tomatoes and olives. Garnish with the reserved parsley leaves. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.
No processor? No problem
If you don’t have a food processor or blender, toast the sunflower seeds, then finely chop them. Finely chop the spinach leaves and crush the garlic. Stir them all together with the lemon zest, parsley, olive oil and some seasoning to make a loose pesto. It won’t be smooth but it will still taste good.