Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Grandpa Day #2 / Hazelnut, Ricotta, and Lemon Pesto Pasta

Today marks the anniversary of my grandfather's passing, so we're having beans, franks, and potatoes for dinner. You've seen that already (but this time I got some hot dogs from the butcher) (my grandpa would have LOVED my butcher, btw), so I thought I might try to tempt you with a delicious pasta dinner we had earlier this week.

For this installment of Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast, my second in as many weeks (go me!), I give to you: Hazelnut, Ricotta, and Lemon Pesto Pasta!!

I found this recipe in the August issue of Bon Appetit magazine... It isn't something that normally would have caught my eye, but belonging to our CSA and making regular trips to the farmer's market on weekends... we've had a lot of tomatoes in our house... so the lack of tomatoes really appealed to me. That, and I had a giant tub of ricotta in the fridge (from all those SBD-friendly desserts!)

See how there aren't multiple paragraphs of instructions? Its that easy. Process it all (in their order, of course) and boil some pasta, and you're done. Seriously. I wasn't sure I wanted to toss the whole bowl into the pasta (and I'm glad I didn't - more later), but I should have used more than I did. The moisture in the pesto was soaked up into the pasta itself, which make the whole thing really really sticky. On future helpings, I added more pesto, and it was fine. I almost want to compare it to the crumb layer in frosting... let the pasta soak up the first bit, add more and its perfect. Anyway... do what you'd like, the stickyness was a little weird, but it made it easier to cut and eat with a fork! ;)

The reason I'm glad I didn't use up all the sauce is this: Its awesome on a pizza! I went online to grab the recipe for the blog, and I saw that a reviewer suggested using the pesto on pizza - and since I'm currently in love with all things White Pizza, I had to try it out. I toasted a whole grain flat out wrap (thanks, Marcie!), then smeared the pesto on. I added a few spoonfuls of ricotta, and then put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. O my gawd. Its now become the only thing I want to eat anymore. If I had a toaster oven at work, I seriously could eat this every day of the week. No photo, and I'm sorry about that, but I'm sure you can all imagine it.

I still have all of the ingredients at home, so you betcha that I'm pulling them all out this weekend!

Hazelnut, Ricotta, and Lemon Pesto
Bon Appetit, August 2007

This can be tossed with a pound of pasta (serve warm or chilled), used as a topping for grilled chicken, or spread onto toasted slices of baguette or focaccia.

Makes about 2 1/3 cups.

1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese (from one 15-ounce container)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Fine sea salt

With processor running, drop garlic clove into machine and blend until finely chopped. Add hazelnuts, basil, and 2 tablespoons olive oil; process until hazelnuts and basil are finely chopped. Add ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon peel, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil; process until well blended. Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in Pecorino Romano cheese. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.


Deborah said...

This pasta sounds amazing!! And pesto is great on pizza!

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Ruth Daniels said...

All I can say is...WOW!!! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.