Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pasta with Homemade Pesto

I love making a big batch of pesto and keeping half in the fridge and half in the freezer. I use it all week as a spread on sandwiches, mixed into potato salad, smeared onto bruschetta, in soup, and  mixed with lemon juice for flavorful salad dressing. My all time favorite way to serve pesto is with pasta. When mixed with pasta water it creates a silky sauce that clings to the noodles and is loaded with fresh herb flavor. Here is my favorite pesto recipe. Make a big batch and enjoy!

Pasta with Homemade Pesto
A silky, fresh sauce that tastes great on everything!
Pasta serves 2, pesto makes 4 cups

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts- or you may use all walnuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. pasta

Make pesto (4 cups):
Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Reserve 1 cup of the pesto and save the rest in the fridge or freezer for another time.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. When pasta is almost done cooking use a liquid measuring cup to scoop out 3/4 cups pasta water from the pot. Drain pasta, then add back to hot pot. Stir in pesto and pasta water, 1/4 cup water at a time, until sauce coats pasta. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa