Tomato Almond Pesto with Spaghetti
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
The beauty and delight of this dish is that it is so fresh and clean--and its is a cinch to make. It is important to make the pesto with the best ingredients. Once it is ready, just toss it in a bowl with some hot, cooked spaghetti and enjoy.
- 3/4pound (about 2 1/2 cups) cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet
- 12 large fresh basil leaves
- 2cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 1/3cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
- 1/4teaspoon peperoncino or to taste
- 1tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon course sea salt or kosher salt, or to taste, plus more for the pasta
- 1/2cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1pound spaghetti
- 1/2cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
- Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat them dry. Rinse the basil leaves and pat them dry.
- Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl, followed by the garlic cloves, almonds, basil leaves, peperoncino, and 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt. Blend for a minute or more to a fine puree; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large bits or pieces have survived.
- While the machine is running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, emulsifying the puree into a thick pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. (If you’re going to dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto at room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage, up to 2 days, but let it return to room temperature before cooking the pasta.)
- To cook the spaghetti, heat 6 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in the large pot. Scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl.
- Cook the spaghetti al dente, lift it from the cooking pot, drain briefly, and drop onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, adding a ladle or two of the pasta cooking water if needed. Sprinkle the cheese all over, and toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.
Kids Can: Wash the cherry tomatoes and basil and pat them dry; spoon the pesto into the cooked pasta; toss the pasta to coat with pesto; and add the grated cheese.
Reprinted with permission from Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Family Kitchen: Nonna’s Birthday Surprise (Running Press, 2013).