Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pesto Pasta

It's fun to experiment with all the different types of pesto.  Last year I made 'nesto' - pesto from nettles.  Lucky (or not) for me, there is no nettle shortage here!

For tonight's dinner, I chose a pesto recipe with a few atypical ingredients - thyme, cilantro, and nutritional yeast.  There is always a question of how packed the leafy ingredients should be when measuring out.  I think I could have used more of both the basil and cilantro - this turned out really creamy.  However, since it's going on pasta, I think creamy will be great!

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
2-1/2 cups basil
1/2 cup cilantro
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

First I toasted the nuts.  I pre-heated a cast iron pan for a bit, then tossed in the walnuts.  I toasted them, stirring from time to time, for 5 minutes.  Then I added the pine nuts and, again stirring, toasted them for another 5 minutes.

In a food processor with steel blade, process the nuts and the garlic until it's all crumbly.  It will smell super garlicky and yummy.  Then add the basil, cilantro, thyme, salt, water, and nutritional yeast and process it all until you have a smooth consistency.  Scrape down the sides at least once to make sure it's all incorporated.

Next stream in the olive oil.  I had some lemon olive oil on hand and so I used half of that and half regular olive oil.  Last, blend in the lemon juice.

This makes about 2 cups of pesto, maybe a little less.  As I  mentioned, you could easily add more of the leafy stuff to make it less creamy.  Another cup and a half of basil and cilantro would not be too much.

For the pasta, I used some delicious homemade garlic parsley noodles that I bought this week via our home delivery produce guy, Mike Nichols.   The noodles, tossed with the pesto and then sprinkled with freshly grated black pepper and Parmesan cheese, and served with salad (lettuce, spinach, spiced walnuts, blue cheese and fig balsamic vinaigrette) and toasted fromage et lardons, was a perfect quick and easy Sunday supper for this slightly chilly first day of July.