Cooking with Relics ~ Spaghetti with Basil Walnut Pesto Recipe

Yesterday we got back from a short trip to Madanapalle a town on the Andhra Karnataka border and Bangalore.

My cousinP’s son was baptised in the native place of his paternal grandparents and i got to be his God mother. I was present in the labour room at the time of his birth, coaching his mother through a really painful delivery. So it seems that I did score some brownie points and his parents honoured me by asking me to be his God mother. So i got myself a son! err did i mention i was so scared myself that i thought i would faint? i did appear to be the pillar of strength tho… i told you i was a good actress!

The small town church was all festooned up for Rohan Joshua and he did ofcourse yell his lungs out when the priest took him in his arms… but other than that it was all delightful. Complete with a traditional meal laid out on a banana leaf to celebrate afterwards (of which i do not have any pictures to share since i was so busy eating).

Coming back home is always a lovely thing, no matter how beautiful and enjoyable your trip is. the only thing is that the fridge is almost bare, sans the stuff that can make it through 4-5 days or however long you are planning to be away. Here comes the part where i believe nothing happens without good reason.  A few weeks ago, Nupur called out to us to see whats in the fridge, i felt she’d heard my voice karmically… turns out i am not the only hoarder… going by the response she’s had with comments. I did peek into my fridge and honestly, I am shocked! I am not shocked easily… but I am… Lets start with the freezer….from half used cartons of cream and coconut milk, dry fruit, pesto rolls (unbaked), cookie dough to 2 batches of basil pesto! Down in the fridge section, there are three kinds of jams, peanut butter and nutella… i am now going on a blanket ban of grocery purchasing till i get this stuff used up. Lets not even mention the dying veggies i throw out with alarming regularity.

I would have loved to do this the whole month long. cook from stuff i need to use up from the fridge/ pantry, but real life takes over, kicks my behind and leaves me breathless. Bringing us back to what I was saying. I stood there wondering what to make for lunch as I had only myself to feed. K went to work with a lunch of rice, dal and a bottle of beef pickle my mother sent back for him. (did I tell you they feel sad for him because i dont eat / cook meat anymore? no? this was part of the comfort package!)

readers of this blog are familiar with my love for pasta. And there isn’t an iota of doubt what i would cook for myself if I am eating alone. Digging out a box of frozen pesto I’d made a few months ago, i set it on the counter to thaw and had visions of the most satisfying lunch driving me nuts. There was a small piece of zucchini which also made its way into the pasta, and in less than 10 minutes, lunch was served.this pasta is off to Nupur who’s hosting BB4: Whats Lurking in the Kitchen. egads! just in time because i realised the last date is tomorrow.

Spaghetti with Basil and Walnut Pesto

see Nupur’s post here the recipe is originally from here

for the pesto (makes 1 cup)

4 packed cups of italian basil, stalks removed, leaves washed and drained on a kitchen towel (the original recipe calls for blanching, i skipped this step)

1/2 cup walnuts (the original uses pine nuts)

2 cloves of peeled garlic (adjust according to your preference)

1/3 cup of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste (i omitted the pepper)

in a hot dry pan, toast the walnuts for 2-3 minutes, tossing frequently. Cool completely. Add all of the ingredients except the olive oil into a mixer jar and pulse till everything resembles finely chopped greens. if you are using a food processor, add the olive oil in a steady stream while continuing to pulse the pesto. i used a jar, so added a tablespoon at a time. check for texture and pulse a little more. The pesto can be frozen now for later use, or used immediately. If freezing, leave to defrost at room temperature for 15-20 mins or nuke in the microwave oven for 30 sec blasts till thawed.

for the spaghetti

2 tablespoons basil walnut pesto

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (remember the pesto has EVOO already, so go easy)

2 cups cooked spaghetti (or any other pasta of choice, cook with salt according to the instructions on the packet)

1/2 cup zucchini slivers

In a pan, heat the olive oil and toss in the zucchini slices. saute for a couple of minutes till they are wilting yet retain their crunch.

In another bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the pesto sauce and swirl it around till well coated. Add this to the sauteed zuchini and swirl some more till well incorporated. Check for salt and adjust as needed. Serve warm with a sprinkling of grated cheese or as is.


15 Comments Add yours

  1. Amar says:

    my version would take just two-three minutes longer than yours. I save time on tossing the pesto with the spaghetti u see 🙂

    1. arundati says:

      am so making this next time!

  2. Rupa says:

    Glad to have you back….and I totally love pasta…anyday ….anytime with pesto,…loving this recipe…..
    By the way can we grow Basil in our weather Anu??? where can we get the seeds/plant…

    1. arundati says:

      yeah good to be back babe….yes basil will grow in our weather… i can send you seeds if you’d like (mail me your address on gmail or fb)…or seedlings since i recently replanted… you’ll have to collect these from me… let me know…

      1. Jyothsna says:

        Hi Arundati,

        Where can i get basil seeds. Could you point me to any store in Bangalore?

  3. Amar says:

    Anu, I love pasta. I cook a fair bit of the Italian stuff myself- tho I prefer the fresh pasta Tortellini, Agnolotti, Ravioli- stuffed.

    Pesto, walnut and basil form a delightful combination for the pasta sauce. However, a piece of advice- take it or dump it.

    Once your pasta (without any sauce) is ready- serve it hot on a plate; and then top your pasta with the sauce/zucchini.

    For the sauce, your ingredients (minus the zucchini) to a sauce pan with butter and saute them together- then goes your zucchini; choose good cheese- my preference is Mascarpone, if not get some cheddar/ parmesan grated. Add cheese and half a cup of milk till you achieve a saucy consistency.

    Pour this sauce over the freshly cooked pasta to the plate. Do not toss the pasta with the sauce thrown in- try this and see the difference. The flavours of the herbs hit the palate beautifully.

    1. arundati says:

      i did make fresh pasta a couple of times, then my fave brand had a 1+1 offer and did me in…. i will try your version next, sounds fabulous! my version was is just pesto…not a pasta sauce and was supposed to be a quick meal 🙂

  4. I miss the thali on banana leaves…..
    Yes- pasta goes so well with pesto- a delightful combination indeed!

  5. Deepa says:

    I like pesto sauce..spaghetti is looking delicious…

  6. Priti says:

    Nice pics, Congrats dear ..its great to be Godmother….and the pesto looks yum

  7. Nupur says:

    My dear- entries for my event have to be inspired from another blog! Is this something you made up or did you use a recipe from someone?

    Congratulations on becoming a godmother- what an honor it must be! Rohan Joshua is a cute name.

    1. arundati says:

      inspired by the pesto recipe on your blog nupur… * going back to check if i havent linked up

  8. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Yes home coming is always beautiful, and I feel the same when I visit the blog of my interest.
    Lovely recipe, might not get the basil leaves, any alternate?

    1. arundati says:

      you could use a combination of mint and coriander, it will have a much deeper flavour tho… also try spinach

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