So tonight, the kiddies asked if I could make something new. Something different.
Not my Fettuccine Alfredo nor my grilled chicken with lemon and chive pan sauce nor my szechuan tofu…nor Hamburger Helper.
Nor green eggs and ham – but it was close.
They asked for bowtie pasta with (classic) pesto.
Like the one they ate at California Pizza Kitchen.
So Cook’s Illustrated came to my rescue again. They had a recipe AND even a video!
Now…if I could only follow the instructions. And I was determined NOT to leave a bag of groceries at the check out line like my blogging bud Jan Morrill did when she made pesto. 🙂
Per Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe, the ingredients were simple:
2 “packed” cups fresh basil
2 tbsp “packed” flat leaf parsley (i.e., Italian parsley)
1/4 cup pine nuts (raw)
3 (skewered) garlic
7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
(The trouble here in SoCal is the drought. EVERYTHING is getting expensive. Fresh pine nuts were $8.99 for a small carton!)
Also, note the type of parsley:
It does taste different and with all that garlic, I felt the parsley was important. 🙂
Boil the water but do NOT salt yet. Skewer the three cloves of garlic and submerge in the boiling water for about 30 seconds then plunge into an ice bath. Mince but it needn’t be too fine as it will go into the processor.
After generously salting the boiling water, start to boil the pasta while keeping a measuring cup in the colander; you need to remember to reserve about 1/2 cup of the water.
After toasting the pine nuts in a skillet over medium low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, everything went into the food processor except for the Parmesan and the water. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as necessary until you get a relatively smooth mixture. You should still be able to make out small pieces of the basil. (Oh, you had to put the basil and parsley into a Ziploc and pound it maybe a dozen times to bruise the leaves before throwing them into the processor. Doing so helps release the savory oils.) Salt as necessary.
This is what it should look like:
The rest is easy. When your pasta is al dente, reserve about 1/2 cup. Add about 1/4 cup of the reserved water into the pesto along with the Parmesan. Toss with the pasta and you’re done!