Monday, September 24, 2012

PW: Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

Let's see, a recipe with heavy cream?

Sign me up.

PW: Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

Verdict:  Very good, not something I'd usually cook, and a delightful change.
Cook it again: Yes, and I am excited to see how it might taste as a cold "salad," too.
Cost factor:  fresh basil and a small package of pine nuts are the two biggest expenses.

I've said it before, and I'm saying it again now:  I am so incredibly thankful for this cooking club.  Not only have I "met" new people and made new friends, and not only have I been able to have a different an unique peek into the lives of people I was already friends with but maybe not in that pick-up-the-phone-and-chat way, but I've been forced to cook things I might not have otherwise picked.  And it's been wonderful!!!

This recipe was no exception.  I love pesto, but it's not typically something I order or cook.  If it's at a party or a buffet, I will have some and quite enjoy it, but it never made it to my rotation.

Until now.

The recipe is pretty straightforward:  in a food processor mix up pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and fresh basil.  Add extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper until you're happy with the mix.

I was a little bit bummed because we had a GIANT  (ginormous, if you ask CAM -- that's her new word) bag of pine nuts in the fridge in Georgia, and I was soooo looking forward to seeing that puppy again, but last week we lost power at the house in GA and a friend of ours had to go empty our fridge.  Of course, it was already mostly empty but I sadly lost some things I was quite looking forward to having back in my life in a few weeks, not the least of which were my awesome and amazing (and expensive) HUGE Ball jar that I used for homemade pickles, and my 57-pound bag of pine nuts.  Anyway.  I will not cry over thrown-away pine nuts or mason jars.  I will not.  (Anymore.)

I was apprehensive because pine nuts are notoriously expensive (hence my devastation at losing my 2-ton bag, especially when I can eat pine nuts by the truckload-full), but the recipe only needs 3 tablespoons, so we got by on one of the little snack-sized bags. 

In any case, you mix all that stuff and then in a saucepan melt a few tablespoons of dinner whisk in some heavy cream. (Substitution:  I used light cream, because I made another recipe this weekend that called for light cream and it was in the front of the fridge. By the time I realized what I'd done, it was too late.  I don't know that it mattered.)  When that's melty and perfect, you pour in the pesto, add some more cheese, and let it simmer and thicken up.

All the while, you boil up what was supposed to be 12 ounces of a fun pasta of your choice. I love cavatelli.  I poured in the entire pound, so my sauce had to spread a little farther than if I'd followed directions, but this was an intentional misstep.

I put this photo here in case you've never seen boiling pasta. 
And that's it!  Pour the pesto cream sauce over the drained pasta and mix in some diced roma tomatoes.

We served it with garlic bread and skipped the salad altogether.

It was very good, and while I was eating it I thought it would probably be equally good as a cold salad.  I will find out for sure tomorrow!


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