Spaghetti with Ligurian Pesto
We had Spaghetti with Ligurian Pesto and a cipollini and portobello mushroom salad.
- 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons pistachios, toasted
- 1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
- 2 cloves garlic, pasted or finely grated
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup EVOO
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 pound spaghetti
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the basil and blanch for 30 seconds. Cold-shock, then drain and let cool on clean kitchen towels.
Transfer the basil to a food processor, and add the pine nuts, pistachios, pecorino, Parm, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse-chop to combine, then stream in the EVOO and lemon juice until you have a pesto-like sauce. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta al dente. Before draining, ladle out about a cup of the starchy pasta cooking water and add to the pesto in the bowl. Drain the pasta and add to the bowl, tossing with tongs 1 or 2 minutes for the flavors to absorb. Pass extra cheese at the table.
Cipollini and portobello mushroom salad:Toss together 1 red cipollini onion (or 1/4 small red onion), very thinly sliced; 3 medium portobello caps, gilled and thinly sliced; 4 or 5 ribs celery with leafy tops, thinly sliced on an angle; and 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves. Dress them with a vinaigrette made with the juice of 1 lemon and EVOO, just enough to coat. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.