Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Fusilli with Walnut Cilantro Pesto


A friend of the family brought back a big bag of chopped walnuts from his travels. The moment I saw those walnuts, I had made a list of gorgeous dishes I could make with them. I have been craving walnut brownies for a while and my brother's girl friend has been requesting some brownies for long. So I would start with the brownies I had decided. Besides, for months I have been planning to make a typical Swiss walnut pie, Engadiner Nusstorte.
       The bag of walnut arrived on Sunday. I was a little occupied on Monday and Tuesday what with a friend's wedding to attend. However, this morning when I set out to make my walnut brownies, all that was left in the jar that the walnuts had been transferred were a couple of measly tablespoon of walnut crumbs, Of course, I didn't wonder where it went because I knew exactly where it could go. It couldn't be a coincident that my father kept on repeating the health benefits of walnuts, first in the evening over tea and then at the dinner table the last couple of nights. "The ones Saheb has brought are particularly good," he said. We nodded, continues eating our food and talked about other things. 
      Little did we know that none of us save Dad would be able to benefit from the virtues of the superlative walnuts our friend had brought. I heard later, last evening, a couple of his buddies had dropped in,  the walnuts replaced the customary salted cashew nuts to go with the single malt. Blah. I was infuriated to say the least. My walnut brownies, no way! However, I had to cook something or my mood would go for a toss. Once I was done with my tirade I decided upon what to make. And those walnut crumbs would go into it. If my father thought in a fit of fury I would leave them alone he was wrong. So I decided to make Pasta with a Walnut Cilantro Pesto. One because my brother and I love it. Two because my father does not. Three, because there was some fresh cilantro lying on the kitchen counter. Buhahaaha
Now pesto sauce is traditionally made with basil, garlic and olive oil with some pine nuts thrown in. And of course there is Parmesan. Different regions of Italy have their own variations of pesto. And there is the pesto russo (red), I particularly like, which has sun dried tomatoes as a base instead of basil. But the term pesto is general means anything that is prepared by pounding. Modern gastronomy has used this linguistic freedom to innovate with the pesto and how. So now everything from mint and cilantro to rosemary and thyme goes into pesto. And not just pine nuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnut, pistachio and like in this recipe walnuts too are used to make innovative pesto. 
Here's how I made my pasta today.

Fusilli (or any pasta you prefer) - 250 g 
Garlic cloves - 3-4 large 
Chopped walnuts - 2 tbsp 
Chopped cilantro/coriander leaves - 1 cup packed 
Lime juice - 1 tbsp 
Salt and coarsely cracked black pepper to taste
Extra Virgin Olive oil 
Parmesan (grated)- 1/4 cup 

In a processor grind the cilantro, garlic, walnuts together. Stream in a little olive oil and give another whiz. 

Add salt, pepper and lime juice, mix well and keep aside. 

Boil water in a pan. Add a couple of table spoons of olive oil and some salt. Add the pasta and cook till al dente. Drain the pasta, reserve a few table spoons of the water you cooked the pasta in. 

Add the water to you pesto and mix well. Add it to the pasta, still hot and give it a good toss. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss well. Serve hot.

My Qurik: I squeezed a little more lime, Desi style, on the pasta while eating it.

1 comment:

  1. HI I was going to make the same today.. Glad i found your interesting cooking space. YOu can find me at . I love Italian and love to eat pasta with diff sauces.