Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Spaghetti with Green Olive Pesto

From 52veggie
This recipe, from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, is one I've had my eye on for a while but hadn't tried. It all revolves around the hassle of taking out my food processor. Lately I've been using it a lot, and its accessibility on the counter means I could make this too.

Pesto is one of those recipes that to me is forgiving. I could have used less or more oil and it still would have tasted great. I could have substituted any fresh herb for basil, even used spinach, and the texture would have been similar. I could have used any fresh veggies in place of the cherry tomatoes, and any nuts in place of the pine nuts. Heck, any pasta in place of the spaghetti - actually I used linguine. I like recipes that can be modified based on what is on hand. This one is highly recommended, and I will definitely be making it again. Not just because it was easy, but because the flavor was outstanding.

Spaghetti with Green Olive Pesto
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 pound dried spaghetti or linguine
1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil
3/4 cup pitted Mediterranean green olives, brine reserved
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 juicy lemon)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or 2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large bunch arugula, stemmed*
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, shaking the skillet often, until they are golden brown in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti or linguine and return to a boil, stirring to separate the noodles. Boil for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, then return to the pot.

3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the basil, olives, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, the garlic, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons water into a coarse paste. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube, and then add 3 tablespoons of the reserved olive brine.

4. Add the pesto, tomatoes, and arugula to the pot of pasta and mix well to coat everything with the pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among plates, garnishing each serving with some of the toasted pine nuts. Serve, passing the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan at the table.

* I should note that I neglected to buy anything resembling arugula at the store, and it tasted great without it.

Categories: Basil, Herbs, Olives, Pasta, Pesto, Tomatoes


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