Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sun-dried tomato pesto

This is a burst of summer sunshine during the gray, gusty November chill. 

3 oz package sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 c golden raisins

Soak in hot water 15 minutes, drain (retain the liquid), set aside. 

1 large bunch basil (a generous two cups of tightly packed leaves)
1/2 bunch of parsley   

The amount and balance of the green herbs isn’t critical; use what you can get.  In November, you’re only likely to find parsley.

3 cloves garlic
A couple tablespoons of the soaking liquid
Olive oil, about 1/2 cup
1/2 pecorino romano cheese
2 oz chestnuts (about 6; I find these in the local Korean grocery store in a foil pouch.  If you can find them, use other nuts of your liking.)
1/2 cup pistachios
1 tsp salt
Optional additions:  capers, olives

Start by processing the green herbs. Add the tomatoes and raisins, with a bit of the liquid, and process until coarsely chopped.  Add garlic, cheese, chestnuts, pistachios, salt (olives and capers, if you’re using them) and process again until a paste has formed.  With the processor running, add the olive oil until a smooth paste is achieved. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.

Dress a pound of rigatoni with the pesto, adding a bit of the pasta cooking water as needed to ‘loosen’ the dish.  Mix well.  Pass cheese at the table.  Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

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