Brazil Nut Pesto with Pasta
The crisp crunch of Brazil nuts yields an unexpected pesto. A delicate anise flavor from the basil makes it familiar, yet the herbal zest of flat-leaf parsley adds a new dimension. This pesto can be used like any other - on pasta, under the skin of chicken destined for roasting, as a dip for raw veggies, or slathered on pizza hot from the oven.
- 1/2 cup Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups gently packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
- Fine sea salt
- 1 pound dried penne or fusilli pasta or any fanciful shape that will grab pesto
- Place the nuts and the garlic in a good processor or in a mortar and pulse or crush until they are coarsely chopped. Add the herbs and lemon zest and process or pound until all are blended into a relatively smooth but still somewhat chunky mixture. With the food processor running, or stirring with a pestle, slowly add the olive oil until it is combined with the herbs and nuts.
- Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano until thoroughly combined. Season with salt if necessary and reserve.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Place the pasta in the salted water and cook just until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and stir in half the pesto. Taste for seasoning and moisture. If you want the pasta with a more intense pesto flavor, add additional pesto. If the pasta is dry, add some of the cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the pasta is moist enough to suit you. Serve immediately.