Spaghetti with walnut pesto

I love pasta!

It is probably my favourite thing to cook and to eat. Sadly, I have never made fresh pasta. Ever. That is something I hope to correct really soon.

For now, though, I did make a fresh pesto sauce. The inadequacy of pine nuts meant I had to use walnuts instead, to a great deal of success. So here is my recipe for a quick pesto sauce for your weekend pasta binges or for use later.DSC_0008-01

Prep time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 25 mins (for both) | The spaghetti serves two people

Ingredients:

  • 1 and a half cups of basil leaves, tightly packed
  • Half a cup of chopped walnuts
  • A third of a cup of olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar (or normal vinegar will also do)
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 chillies, slit in the middle
  • Half a teaspoon of salt (plus more if needed after taste-check)
  • Some cold water to loosen the sauce
  • A dry container to store the sauce

For the spaghetti:

  • A large, deep, flat-bottom utensil to boil the water
  • A handful of spaghetti (use penne, fusilli or any other pasta you prefer)
  • 3 tablespoons of salt
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • A teaspoon of chopped coriander leaves and stalk
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Method:

In an electric mixer/chopped, add the basil leaves, walnuts, chillies, garlic cloves, vinegar and lemon juice. Blitz till it starts to get a little crumbly.

Once a paste-like consistency is attained or the walnuts get stuck to the blade, add the olive oil and salt. Mix again till it turns into a fine sauce. Add a little water to loosen the sauce.

Taste check to see if it needs a little more salt or lemon juice. Transfer to an airtight plastic/glass jar. You can store the sauce in the fridge for up to 10 days or freeze it for up to a month.

Before storing, add a little extra virgin or normal olive oil and let it sit at the top. Do not mix it into the sauce.

Fill the large utensil till about three-fourths of the way up, and bring it to a boil. Add the salt and the spaghetti. Cook for about 7 and a half minutes or a minute lesser than what is written at the back of the pasta packet.

Once done, drain the spaghetti and pass under cold water to stop the cooking. Drizzle a little olive over the top and mix. Let it sit until you prepare the rest of the items.

Meanwhile, finely slice the garlic, coriander leaves and stalk and add them to a hot pan with the olive oil.

Lower the heat and let the garlic and coriander sizzle for 1-2 minutes, then add the chilli flakes.

Add two large tablespoons of the pesto sauce to the pan and fry it for another minute. Drop the spaghetti in and turn the heat off. Mix well.

Taste check to see if it needs some more salt. Then, using a pair of tongs, or two forks, transfer to a serving bowl.

Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves and chilli flakes.

Happy cooking!

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