I am incredibly fond of pasta and after my spaetzle recipe, I wanted to try another pasta dish. Where else would you go other than good old Italy? This dish brought out my inner Italian and made me want to only eat pasta for the rest of my life. A small disclaimer, this dish does contain pistachios so if you have a sensitivity to nuts, you can easily leave the pistachios out completely. My family loves pistachios so I made sure to put a hardy serving of them on the plate. The recipe that I used was incredibly helpful. It had the recipe split into four different sections. It made me feel not as rushed as in other recipes.

Now for my tips and mistakes that I made this week. Beginning with the pistachio pesto, the recipe tells you to use a mortar and pestle, many people do not just have this on hand in their homes. Don’t worry, there is a solution, what I did was I stuck the garlic and pistachios together in a heavy duty Ziploc bag and took a heavy rolling pin and got my anger out on the bag. The pistachios broke very easily this way and turned into a fine particle and when combined with the olive oil made a very good pesto.

Another thing that I did because I didn’t have the time to make homemade pasta like this recipe calls for, as much as I would love to. I used pre-made strozzapreti that said it tasted like a homemade pasta. In my opinion, I think it really did taste like homemade pasta, this is a good replacement if there just isn’t enough time in the day for making pasta.

One thing that I would have changed is how I made the herb pesto. I threw the basil, parsley, and olive oil in a food processor, but there didn’t seem as though there was enough of anything for it to cut. The herbs ended up being very large chunks. I don’t really know how I would change this, but I definitely will.

Overall, this recipe was phenomenal. It satisfied my need to have pasta and was fresh and healthy. I was surprised at how quick and easy this was in general. I would have to give this recipe a 9.5 out of 10. Only taking points off because I feel like it could have had a little more flavor. If you would like to make this recipe follow this link read the recipe below.


Original recipe by Manuela Zangara

Ingredients for 4 persons:

For the sauce:
6-7 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp of tomato purée
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

For the blended herbs:
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of basil
1.5 tbsp parsley

For the pistachio pesto:
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove of garlic
3 tbsp of unsalted pistachios

For the crunchy zucchini:
1 big zucchini, cut into thin sticks
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

360 gms of home-made busiati (or strozzapreti or fusilli)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano thinly grated to serve

Start by making busiati.  You can follow this step by step tutorial.

To make the crunchy zucchini:
Cut the zucchini into thin sticks and put it on a baking dish layered with baking paper.  Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and broil in a very hot oven for a few minutes, until golden and crisp.  Keep aside.

To make the sauce:
Crush the garlic and put it in a frying pan with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Let it fry on a low fire for a minute.  Then add the halved cherry tomatoes, the tomato purée, a pinch of salt and 3 tbsp of water.  Let the sauce cook for 5 minutes on a slow fire.  Then put the fire off and keep it aside.

To make the blended herbs:
Blend the basil and parsley leaves together with the 1.5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and keep it aside.

To make the pistachio pesto:
Crush the pistachios with the garlic clove in a mortar and pestle.  Add the extra virgin olive oil and keep it aside.

Cook the busiati following the steps on How to cook pasta “al dente” in the Techniques page of this site, but drain it 1 minute before it is fully cooked as it will finish cooking together with the sauce.  Before draining the pasta, put 2 tbsp of the pasta water in the tomato sauce.  Put the drained pasta in the frying pan with the tomato sauce and add 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Mix well.


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