The Main Course

A beginning of a photo-blog series of humbly homemade dishes…


:: Walnut Pesto with Fusilli Pasta ::


Mom is growing basil on the deck and her plant, like many basil plants, is quite full with sweetly spicy leaves. So much so that there have been numerous sprigs bathing in vases of water above our sink as a not-so-subtle reminder that pesto needed to be made. Needed to be made by me. At some point I, unknowingly, inherited all of the cooking duties in the household. Apparently, if you’ve prepared family meals for 24 or so years, you get to retire and pass the spatula.

We were out of pine nuts and they are rather expensive to buy in bulk, so I opted for walnuts in the hopes of achieving a slightly different taste and texture.

I followed this recipe from Kiss My Spatula – one of my new culinary blog obsessions – to get the ratio of cheese to oil to nuts correct. The walnuts make a thicker, crunchier pesto than pine nuts which, in my opinion, create a more creamy pasta topping. I tripled the recipe because of the plethora of basil leaves on hand, but would probably reduce the amount of garlic by half (three cloves is a bit excessive, no?) should I make repeat batches. I prefer a subtle hint of garlic rather than the smack in the taste buds that others prefer.

I spooned the pesto over tender fusili pasta and ate it with a side of heirloom tomatoes doused in balsamic vinegar (my favorite way to eat tomatoes thanks to my dad). A cold Duchesse de Bourgogne sour ale rounded things out – quick, simple, and satisfying on a rainy night. I’m gauging my true success with tonight’s meal by the fact that my brother ate an entire bowl-full with nary a complaint. I’ll be freezing the remainder of the pesto for winter when we’re all longing for the pungent smell of fresh herbs.


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