If you had told me a few years ago that I was going to write about pasta and pesto, I would not have believed it. First, due to a rejection created from an erroneous diagnosis of celiac disease; second, because he related it to fast food from the first year of my degree that easily satiated you and made you tired by repetition. And, third and last -and here lies part of my repellent personality- for the virality that any pasta dish has on the networks. However, with the passage of time and personal independence, I have ended up revisiting moments of my life through plates of food. Sometimes you need to feel close to home and a plate of pasta with cream and bacon -which is not carbonara, but that’s how my mother and many other people prepared it- can bring you closer to things and people that are physically and temporarily distant.
Focusing on the recipe that concerns us here, I know that some other will raise their hands to their heads for not respecting the integrity of pesto, but we start from the basis that pesto is any sauce that is crushed in a mortar and emulsified with oil. This one is specifically inspired by basic ingredients of Thai gastronomy: instead of pine nuts, we will use peanuts and peanut butter; we will obtain the umami by combining confit garlic with parmesan and fish sauce.
I understand that there are people who are reluctant to touch fish sauce, but it is something personal: if I have to salt something, I use it because it is spectacular; if you want to maintain its vegetarian integrity, you can replace it with soy sauce or directly with more salt. The fresh touch is provided by the lime juice together with the basil leaves, coriander and Chinese spring onion. If you want to throw even more for Thailand, it would be interesting to add some bird’s eye chili, but I leave this to your choice.
Regarding the choice of pasta, I recommend lumaconi because I find them fantastic with this type of sauce due to their relief and size, but it can be substituted with any pasta that you have in your pantry and you like. About cooking it, I don’t know more than anyone in this field, but I recommend salting the cooking water in a worrying way to extract the flavor of the pasta itself and not just keep the pesto flavor.
Survive the wrath of food purists.
For 2 generous plates
- 300 g lumaconi (or any type of pasta that holds sauces well)
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 spring onions (the green part)
- 20g basil leaves (a generous handful)
- 20 g coriander (with stem) (about 8/10 branches)
- 50 g of fried peanuts
- 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter
- The juice of one lime
- 1.5 tablespoons fish or soy sauce
- 60g grated Parmesan
- Half a teaspoon of ground white pepper
- Half a teaspoon of flake salt
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or until you like the texture of the pesto)
Confit the garlic cloves in a pot with oil over low heat -do not bubble- about 30 minutes or until they are golden -caramel color- and soft (it is advisable to prepare more and use them in other preparations).
Bring a large pot of water and a tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
In a mortar or food processor, add all the ingredients listed above (except the pasta) until you get a creamy texture in which the ingredients are differentiated.
When the pasta is ready, remove from the water and mix in a bowl with the pesto and a little of the cooking water to help it integrate well. Serve, with more grated Parmesan if desired.
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