RECIPE

Spaghetti with Ligurian Pesto

We had Spaghetti with Ligurian Pesto and a cipollini and portobello mushroom salad.

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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.

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