ONLINE EXTRA — PERFECT PESTOS: Fettuccine with Walnut Pesto . . . Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto . . . Toasted Nut and Parsley Pesto, etc.
Fettuccine with Walnut Pesto
2 cups walnut halves or pieces, toasted
2 cloves garlic
1 ½ cups ricotta, preferably fresh, drained
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated grana padano or Parmesan, plus more for passing
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound fettuccine
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, put the walnuts and garlic in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are chopped into tiny bits (but don’t grind them to a powder). Scrape the mixture into a large bowl; stir in the ricotta, oil, grated cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to taste until blended.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente, about 12 minutes; drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Drop pasta into the bowl with the pesto; dot pasta with dollops of the butter. Toss until pasta is coated with the pesto; if it is too thick, loosen it with a bit of the reserved pasta water as you toss. Serve in warm bowls, passing more grated cheese.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 851 calories, 57 percent of calories from fat, 55 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 51 milligrams cholesterol, 64 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 453 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
¼ cup chopped pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped onion
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with warm water for 5 minutes, or until tender. In a food processor or blender, combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and onion; process until well blended. Add vinegar, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, and process. Stir in olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt to taste. Serve on toasted baguette slices.
Toasted Nut and Parsley Pesto
3 cloves medium-large garlic, unpeeled
1 cup pecans, walnuts, whole blanched almonds, skinned hazelnuts, unsalted pistachios, or pine nuts, or any combination
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup)
Table salt and ground black pepper
Toast garlic in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until softened and spotty brown, about 8 minutes; when cool, remove and discard skins.
Toast nuts in a medium, dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool.
In a food processor, process garlic, nuts, parsley and oil until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down sides of work bowl. Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in Parmesan; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toasting the unpeeled garlic in a skillet reduces its harshness and gives it a mellow flavor that works well in pesto. The pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for as long as 3 days.
Olive Pesto and Pasta
3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1½ cups kalamata olives, pitted
1 medium shallot, chopped coarse
8 fresh basil leaves (large)
¼ cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed (optional)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup), plus extra for the table
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 pound pasta
Toast garlic in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until garlic is softened and spotty brown, about 8 minutes; when cool, remove and discard skins.
In a food processor, pulse toasted garlic, olives, shallot, basil, parsley, anchovy, Parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice, stopping as necessary to scrape down sides of work bowl. Transfer mixture to a small bowl, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stock pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water, and return pasta to stock pot. Stir 1/4 cup pasta cooking water into pesto, then stir pesto into pasta. Toss, adding more pasta cooking water as needed. Serve immediately, passing lemon wedges and extra Parmesan at the table.
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh cilantro, lightly packed
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place garlic and cilantro in food processor fitted with metal blade. With the processor running, slowly add oils, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.
Pasta, Pesto and Bean Soup
Olive oil spray
½ medium onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, sliced (about 1 cup)
2½ cups fat-free, low-salt chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup acini pepe pasta
1 cup rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans
½ cup frozen peas
Several drops hot pepper sauce
3 tablespoons prepared pesto sauce
Heat a large sauce pan over high heat and spray with olive oil. Add onion and carrots and saute, stirring, 3 minutes. Add broth, wine, pasta and beans. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add peas and hot pepper sauce; simmer 5 more minutes. Remove soup from heat and stir in pesto sauce.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 570 calories, 20 percent of calories from fat, 12.4 grams fat (2.8 grams saturated, 8.3 grams monounsaturated), 8 milligrams cholesterol, 22.9 grams protein, 72.5 grams carbohydrates, 12.1 grams fiber, 1,026 milligrams sodium.
Pasta Salad with Lemon Pesto Dressing
1 pound cavatappi, corkscrew pasta, or medium shells
1 cup prepared pesto sauce from refrigerated case in supermarket
1 lemon, juiced and zested
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 scallions, chopped
¾ pound ricotta salata, chopped and crumbled, in specialty cheese case of market or 1 pound tub bocconcini mini pieces of mozzarella, drained, pieces halved
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
Place pesto, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, tomatoes, scallions and cheese in a large bowl.
Cook pasta to al dente then cold shock it and chill it down under cold running water. Drain well. Add to mixing bowl. Combine salad and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
1 cup water
¾ cup (1½ ounces) sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
2 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 small garlic clove
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon pine nuts
¼ pound spaghetti
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place a pot of with 3 to 4 quarts of water on to boil. In a separate pot, heat 1 cup water. (This can be done in a microwave for 2 minutes on high.)
Add sun-dried tomatoes and soak 5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the water, removing 2 tablespoons of the liquid. Place the liquid, the reconstituted tomatoes, plum tomatoes, garlic, oil and vinegar in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Remove to a serving bowl and add Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Boil spaghetti 9 minutes or until done.
Drain, add to the pesto and toss well, Add salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 398 calories, 14 grams protein, 63 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams fat, 26 percent of calories from fat, 2.1 grams fiber, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 158 milligrams sodium.