Basil Walnut Pesto Pasta
What does a famous chef cook when he’s relaxing at home? Something quick and easy, like this summer
delight with fragrant basil, cheese, and your choice of nuts–packed with protein and omega-3-oils–that make a pasta dish that is super-simple–and simply superb.
2 quarts salted water
4 cups basil leaves, lightly packed
4 cloves peeled garlic
1 small jalapeno, seeded
3/4 cup mixed pine nuts and walnuts or pecans
6-7 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, divided
1 pound linguini
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1. Bring salted water to a boil. Drop basil into the pot, pushing it down into the water. Cook for about 20 seconds, then lift it out with a skimmer and rinse under cold water. Place in bowl of food processor. Add garlic, jalapeno, and nuts. Process on high, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil and a few tablespoons of water to make it combine better, and process until you have a beautiful green puree.
2. When ready to cook the pasta, drop 1 pound linguini into the boiling water and while it is cooking, grate the cheese. When pasta is al dente, set a stainless-steel bowl near the pasta cooking pot and spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil into the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, then scoop out 3/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid and add it to the oil in the bowl. Drain pasta in colander, shaking to remove excess water. Transfer pasta to the bowl containing the oil and pasta cooking liquid and toss. The cooking liquid will be absorbed by the pasta.
3. Add the pesto and a good handful of the cheese, and mix well. Serve immediately in hot deep plates, sprinkled with extra Parmesan cheese.
Adapted from Chez Jacques, by Jacques Pepin (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, 2007). Copyright (c) 2007 by Jacques Pepin. Reprinted by permission of Stewart, Tabori, and Chang.
Adapted from Chez Jacques, by Jacques Pepin (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, 2007).