Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8: Walnut-Parsley-Rosemary Pesto

   Coarse salt
1 pound penne rigate
1 cup walnut pieces
   About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 head of cauliflower, florets sectioned and cut into ½-inch slices
   Coarse black pepper
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 to 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese, plus some to pass at the table
   Zest of 1 orange

Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. When it boils, salt the water and add the pasta, cooking al dente (with a bite to it).

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast for 5 minutes to develop their flavor.

Remove the nuts from the pan and cool. Add an inch of water to the pan and bring to a boil. Salt the water and cook the cauliflower for 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain the cauliflower, then return the pan to the stove. Add 2 tablespoons of the EVOO and the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook for 3 minutes more.

While the veggies cook, grind half the nuts with the parsley, rosemary, cheese, and orange zest in a food processor. Stream in about 1/3 cup of the EVOO and process until a paste forms, then season with salt, and pepper.

Drain the pasta. Add the walnut pesto to the veggies. Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat evenly, then toss in the remaining whole toasted nuts.

Adjust the seasonings and grated cheese and transfer to a serving platter or plates. Pass more cheese at the table.


This meal was pretty good, but I think it could have been better. I'm pretty sure I used too much salt, and too much rosemary. I loaded it up with cheese 1)for the protein, and 2) to mask the flavor a little. It helped, but not much. Anyway, I really like the cauliflower and the walnuts, I just am not too crazy about the pesto. I didn't change anything.

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