Italian

SPAGHETTI IN CREAMY PESTO

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INGREDIENTS:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts/ Brazil Nuts / Almonds
3-5 Cups Basil Leaves
4-5 Cubes Ice
1/4 Cup Mix Nuts (Walnuts, Cashew, Almond)
15 Garlic Cloves
3 Cups Milk
250 Grams Cheese
1 Tsp Sugar
3 Tomatoes / 10 Cherry Tomatoes (Optional)
1 Packet Spaghetti Pasta (500 Grams)
Hot Water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Chilli Flakes (Optional)
Chilli / Garlic Oil (Optional)
Grated Cheese (Optional)
Salt to taste

METHOD:

  • Discard hard stem and dark leaves of Basil if any and wash them really well.
  • Boil water in a deep pan. Switch off flame and drop the leaves to blanch for 10-15 seconds, until they wilt.
  • Drain the water on a metal colander. You can reserve the basil water for later use. Immediately, place ice cubes over and under the blanched leaves. You can also pour ice-cold water instead. Keep aside to cool off.
  • Discard any ice and add the Basil Leaves along with peeled Garlic, Mix Nuts and Salt and grind it for a minute. For the nuts, add whatever is available. You can also skip this if you don’t have any or are allergic. Gradually add little water and grind into a thick paste. I used the same water that was leftover after blanching basil leaves. Any leftover water can be used as a stock or to water plants once it cools down.
  • In a largest wok or deep and wide pan that you have, heat oil.
  • Add Pine Nuts if you have them. I used chopped Brazil Nuts this time since they were available at home. I otherwise use chopped Almonds. Roast for a few seconds until they turn a shade darker. Switch off the flame.
  • Now add the Green Pesto paste you ground up and mix well. Since it’s blanched already, you don’t need to cook it.
  • Also add in a little Sugar.
  • Add grated Cheese and milk according to the taste and consistency you prefer. If grating cheese seems like a boring process, you can roughly chop the Cheese block into tiny pieces. Drop them in a microwave safe bowl. Add a little milk and microwave for 2 minutes. The cheese will soften and eventually melt completely when you mix this with the pesto. You can use any type of Cheese. I’ve also used Cheese Spread, Parmesan and Gouda Cheese at times. This time I used Processed Cheese.
  • Add Cherry Tomatoes halved. I used regular Tomatoes chopped into big pieces. Switch the flame back on and cook for 2 minutes while stirring continuously. You can skip Tomatoes. I’ve made with and without a lot of times.
  • You can add Chilli flakes and you might want to add Salt as well.
  • Boil Spaghetti Pasta in hot water with a little salt as per the packet instructions. It took me about 15 minutes though the packet mentioned 9 minutes. I boiled them in 2 separate pans since the quantity was a lot compared to the size of the pans I had. Once cooked al denté, drain them in a colander and add this to the Pesto sauce.
  • If not using immediately, run cold water over the cooked Pasta, drizzle oil, mix well and keep aside. I generally start boiling the Spaghetti or any noodle or pasta 30 minutes before serving. I prepare the sauce earlier in the day. I do this so that I don’t have to reheat.
  • Serve in a plate or bowl. Top with grated Cheese & drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Chilli Garlic Oil. Olive oil just brings out the flavour so well!
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Fresh vibrant Basil Leaves
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Blanched Leaves
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Using Ice to cool the leaves down & retain it’s colour
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The most boring part of this recipe haha
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Brazil Nuts I had in stock, being used as a replacement to Pine Nuts. You can also use Almonds.
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Olive oil roasted Brazil Nuts.
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Thick Pesto
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Thick Smooth Paste after adding Milk & Cheese. Spot the Tomatoes too?
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Big Pieces of Tomatoes
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Take a wider pan to boil these. I had to divide these with another pan, mid way while boiling these. Silly me!
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500 grams cooked al dente
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Creamy Pesto
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Drizzle with Olive & Chilli Garlic Oil
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Happy Plate
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Well coated in Pesto
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Pesto Sauce
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So creamy
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No Tomatoes
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Garnished with Gouda Cheese
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Colour retained!
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Grated Processed Cheese
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When I had a lot of Basil Leaves 😀
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Such colour!
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Grate or use any type of Cheese
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Roasted Almonds as a substitute to Pine Nuts
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Cheese Spread & Milk
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Pesto Pesto
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Cheese melting with Milk

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