Spaghetti with basil/walnut pesto; tomatoes, avocados – 24 October 2013

D bought a bunch of basil at the Tuesday market for a dollar and put the stems in water. They started wilting quickly, and I cut off the stem ends, but they still did not recover very well. That put them at the top of the triage list. I obviously thought of making pesto, but we have a lot of cubes of pesto in the freezer. However, none of them has walnuts instead of pine nuts, so I decided this was the time to try basil/walnut pesto.

main131024I looked online for recipes to find the general ratio of ingredients, but these ranged, for example, from 2:1 to 6:1 basil to walnuts. In other words – whatever works, works. I cut up two mammoth garlic cloves into chunks, and dumped them into the Cuisinart, with the blade running, till they were little bits stuck to the walls. I took about 1/2 cup walnut halves from the freezer and let them defrost, cut them into 4ish pieces each, and again tossed them into the running Cuisinart to join the garlic. I grated a bunch of parmesan in our hand grater, and it totalled about 1/2 cup of grated cheese; I added this to the Cuisinart. All the basil leaves I could recover made about 1 cup basil, moderately densely packed, and I added these and cuised them, occasionally stopping the blade and scraping the sides of the bowl to mix the stuff together. Finally, with the blade running, I poured EV olive oil into the bowl till the texture was right – sort of thickly goopy. You can always add more olive oil, and in fact, too much is not a terrible problem. I had D taste this and he thought it was fine, but I thought it wanted a bit of salt. I ended up salting my pasta at the table.

wine131024I boiled spaghetti till al dente, removing a couple of soup ladles full of pasta water to warm the serving bowls a couple of minutes before the pasta was done. I drained the spaghetti and put it into bowls (about 5 oz for the two of us, 3 for D and 2 for me), then topped with an unusually large dollop of pesto to be mixed at the table.

I cut up two small dry-farmed early girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl Produce, and two “peewee” avocados from the Bowl, and served halves to each of us. We had more of the Acme Italian Batard from last night, still remarkably fresh. It was a really good dinner, all told.

D chose a bottle of a favorite Trader Joe’s wine, Valreas, a Cotes du Rhone Villages (this a 2011). It was a pleasure to have this wine and it went well with dinner.

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