Prep: 30 minutes
I grow monster amounts of basil on our back porch garden, and this rad little recipe is my killer pasta sauce version! Super easy, freaking crazy delicious, and nutritious with whole wheat or a quinoa-rice pasta.
I love my food processor, but, some days, I just don’t have it in me for the clean up. Also, though I have worshipped a Vitamix from afar, I keep opting for photo gear for the money (but, my dream will come true, someday).
So, for crazy busy days when I need an easy clean-up sauce, marinade, or dressing, I opt for my juicing blender—mine happens to be a NutriBullet. I have dedicated the larger container that came with it for marinades, soups, and sauces. I love to mark up anything with a Sharpie!
As my father, Joe “Cap” Lotta, would say, “Mangia tutti” – let’s eat!
When blending in a cylindrical juice blender, you may need to add moisture to some ingredients, like nuts, to get them moving.
Big ol’ bunch of fresh basil (2-3 cups or large size container at the grocery store)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano (fresh or the classic off-the-shelf mix)
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup raw almonds (1/4 cup if not saving-see below)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup if not saving-see below)
Room temperature water
2 cloves garlic roughly chopped (less or more, to your taste)
Dry pasta—I prefer rotini to grab the sauce in the ridges
Roast the almonds and pumpkin seeds together in a toaster oven or stove top in a skillet, stirring frequently until the aromas are released and the nuts turn a richer, slightly darker color. Don’t go too far, as they get bitter. Set aside to cool. Divide out about 1/4 cup of the mixture for pesto and save the rest to add to salads, etc.
Wash and pull basil leaves off stem. I am not a purist on this; if there is some stem, no big deal.
Pre-blend roasted seed/nut combo into small pieces—add a bit of water, if needed, to get it moving thru the blender. We don’t want nut butter—just chunks.
Add all remaining ingredients, starting with a 1/4 cup olive oil and 2-3 tablespoons water. Blend until you have the consistency you like. You can add more olive oil and/or water, S&P, or cheese to your liking.
Refrigerate for about an hour to let flavors develop.
Cook up pasta and ladle out 2 cups of cooking liquid into bowl or measuring cup just before draining the pasta. Drain pasta and return about half of it to the now dry pot. Add back in about a 1/2 cup of reserved liquid. Stir in pesto to coast pasta, adding more pasta as you stir. I like my pasta thick with sauce. If I have any left, I freeze for another recipe.
Recipe & photography by Tess. Lotta