Thursday, June 17, 2010

Penne with Pine Nut Pesto

Penne with Pine Nut Pesto
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Yeast-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Free

You just can't beat fresh pesto sauce on pasta for taste. With very little effort, you can make a wonderful sauce that not only smells and tastes great, but looks fabulous too. Have a look at the photo of the two sauces. Which would you rather eat; the fresh pesto on the left or the pre-package pesto on the right?

1 one lb package (455 grams) of rice penne

2 cups of fresh basil leaves (1 large bunch), washed, stems removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup pine nuts, finely ground
1/8 cup pine nuts, whole (for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2+ cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-2 tbsp water to thin the paste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1/4 tsp olive oil (to help prevent the pasta from sticking) and the entire package of pasta. Cook only till al dente (firm, not mushy!) following the package directions.

Meanwhile, to make the pesto sauce, add to a blender or food processor the basil, almond meal, ground pine nuts and garlic and blend until creamy. Add the lemon juice and continue to blend. Finally, drizzle in the olive oil (or several small additions) while blending just until the mixture is creamy (you may not need all the oil). Add the sea salt and freshly ground pepper and blend a final time. Adjust the seasonings and thin with cold water if the mixture is still too thick.

When the rice pasta is cooked, drain it into a colander and rinse it with warm water to remove any starch. Return it to the pot and toss it with approximately 1 tbsp of olive oil while reheating it. Add 1/2 of the finished pesto sauce to the pot and toss again. Finally, portion the pasta into individual plates (about 4 dinner servings) top with a little more pesto sauce and some whole pine nuts.

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