Friday, January 22, 2010

recipe: winter herbless pesto

As you may have noticed, I haven't written nearly as much over the past few months, and the recipes I've published are quite spartan. This is because we had our second child, a boy, in October, and it's hard enough to cook something healthy, much less write about it. However, I am learning a lot about (and practicing) fast, wholesome, winter meals, such as the broiled eggs I wrote about earlier this month. Some people fall to convenience foods during such times, but I choose to strip down my cooking even more.

Yesterday I think I perfected what may be the perfect two-young-children-cold-winter-weeknight-that-you-could-still-serve-company meal: pasta with an herbless pesto sauce. One of the many challenges of cooking with small children is a sudden decrease in trips to the co-op. Combine that with a lack of fresh local produce, and one begins to find new romance in the pantry. After you make this one time you'll be able to make it blindfolded, without a recipe or planning.


  • 1 pound dried pasta (whole wheat spaghetti or penne taste great with this)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 lb parmesan or other hard cheese, plus more for grating
  • 1 heaping cup of walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. In the small bowl of a food processor, fitted w/ a blade attachment, combine garlic, cheese, walnuts, oregano, pepper, and salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  2. Turn the food processor on and add olive oil until mixture resemles an oily paste (much like basil pesto).
  3. Cook pasta, drain, and toss briefly with the pesto sauce. Top individual plates with grated cheese.
*Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a first course.