Ah, lovely pesto! But don’t you need olive oil and cheese to make pesto? No way! These ingredients are traditional, but they can simply be omitted, resulting in a much lighter and fresher tasting sauce, but still full of that great basil and garlic flavor!
You can serve this plain (just noodles and sauce) or with some lightly cooked vegetables, as shown in the above photo, such as onion, mushrooms, and/or summer squash, as well as chopped fresh tomatoes.
- For the pasta:
- 1 package spaghetti, fettuccini, or vermicelli pasta (12 to 16 ounces)
- 1 ounce walnuts or pine nuts (about ¼ cup; for optional garnish)
- For the pesto sauce:
- ½ cup water
- 2½ ounces cashews, walnuts or pine nuts (about ½ cup)
- 1½ teaspoons finely chopped garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
- 1½ ounces fresh basil (about 1 cup chopped and packed)
- To make the pasta, cook according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water, return the pasta to the pot, and set aside.
- To make the pesto, place all of the ingredients (water, nuts, garlic, and basil) into a food processor, and process for 1 to 2 minutes, adding a little more water as needed to thin. (You can also use a blender, which blends more quickly and results in a smoother sauce.)
- Stir the pesto into the pot of cooked pasta. Serve immediately as is or with cooked vegetables. To create a parmesan-like topping, grate some nuts on top (using a rotary cheese grater ).
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