My July-August Cook’s Illustrated magazine came in a few weeks ago and I swear I earmarked every single recipe in this edition! My first attempt at this set of recipes was a complete success. I learned pesto is more than a puree of basil and pine nuts. It can use a variety of vegetables, nuts and spices. So try this version and be amazed!
Recipe courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves or 1/8 cup dried basil
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
additional pinch of red pepper fakes (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
scant 1/2 cup grated parmesan
pasta: fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti
1. Toast almonds in skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, about 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature
2. Combine red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes in small dish.
3. Process cooled almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, red pepper flake mixture, 1 tsp. salt and extra red pepper flakes if using, in a food processor until smooth, about one minute.
4. Scrape down sides with a spatula. Turning processor back on, slowly drizzle in olive oil for about 30 seconds.
5. Boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water, and return to cooking pot.
6. Add pesto and parmesan to pasta. Add cooking water as needed so that pesto coats pasta (NOTE: I didn’t need the pasta water, but it’s probably good to have on hand just in case.)
7. Serve immediately and enjoy thoroughly!