Artichoke Basil Pesto Pasta
I like growing my own herbs and vegetables. It’s satisfying to be able to walk outside and pick off fresh herbs whenever you want to cook with them. That’s why it’s so frustrating when the cold comes in and wants to jack up my basil. But like every responsible basil parent, I know the response, pesto time. Pesto is really a wonderful alternative to a tomato or cheese sauce for your pastas, though I will say there is no lack of Parmesan in this. It’s super quick to throw together and has no shortage on flavor, so it’s perfect for a quick dinner that looks and tastes like it took much more work than it actually did. There’s a million ways to make pesto, so my version here is just a serving suggestion, but I do promise you that it tested well in the household polls, and they never lie.
1 Bunch Basil
5-6 Artichoke hearts
1/2 Cup walnuts
4 Cloves Garlic minced
Zest of 1 small lemon
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Parmesan
Salt and Pepper
10oz Dried Pasta
There are only a few things that I use that come from cans, beans, tomatoes and artichokes. Though I like eating fresh made artichokes, I have no love of making fresh artichokes. I leave that to someone else. So, please cheat in this recipe and buy regular canned artichokes.
Pesto is very simple to make, so simple in fact that I like making it fresh just before each use. Why store something that only takes about 15 minutes to make? The only thing that needs to get cooked is the walnuts. Traditional pesto uses pine nuts, but I like using walnuts for their flavor and, quite frankly, a much lower price. Toast the nuts on a sheet tray at 350º for 8-10 minutes. They should look darker, but not too dark.
Other than that, just throw the first 6 ingredients in the processor with salt and pepper and process into a loose paste, and viola you have pesto. Doesn’t get much easier.
Cook your pasta according to the package directions just shy of al dente. When your pasta is getting close to done, heat a large pan over medium heat and add your pesto. Cook it for about 30 seconds before adding your pasta. I used tongs to move my pasta into the pan, if you use a colander, make sure to save 1 cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the pesto adding pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce to coat everything.
Add the Parmesan and mix well. Serve immediately with more fresh basil.