Basil pesto and mushroom pasta. Raksha’s Kitchen/21022407
Basil pesto and mushroom pasta bursts with flavour, it’s fresh, light, summery and delicious. With a freshly made basil pesto, garlic mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, this recipe is perfect for all pasta lovers! By Alana Nanai-Fonmanu.
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, the
capital city of Liguria, Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic,
European pine nuts, salt, fresh basil leaves, and hard cheese such as Parmesan
cheese all blended with olive oil.
But my version of this dish uses nutritional
yeast instead of Parmesan cheese (which is optional) and almonds in place of
pine nuts. This recipe is gluten, dairy and egg free.
Early last year my mum brought home a branch
of dried basil seeds and scattered them in our mini garden. They grew so fast
like a wild bush! My sister and I couldn’t stand seeing all that basil not
being used in our everyday cooking, we would use it in certain dishes just for
flavour and garnishes. So, we decided to make our own pesto sauce which indeed
required a handful of basil leaves!
We do have a lot of shops here in Rarotonga
that sell pesto but nothing beats fresh and homemade. Even preparing it
beforehand is a great idea, it can be stored in the fridge for a week or in the
freezer for up to two months.
Homemade Basil Pesto
cups packed fresh basil (large stems removed)
Tbsp of almonds (roasted) or sunflower seeds
large cloves garlic (peeled)
Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
tsp Pink Himalayan salt to taste
Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Tbsp water (plus more as needed)
1. To a food processor or small blender, add
the basil, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and blend/mix on high until a
loose paste forms.
2. Add olive oil a little at a time (streaming
in while the machine is on if possible) and scrape down sides as needed. Then
add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water at a time until the desired consistency is reached – a
thick but pourable sauce.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for flavor, almonds
for nuttiness, garlic for bite / zing, or lemon juice for acidity.
pack of Gluten free pasta – I prefer penne or swirls
cups of cherry tomatoes halved
- 10 medium sized mushrooms sliced
tbsps of nutritional yeast (optional, gives a cheese taste)
tbsp of olive oil
garlic cloves minced
– 4 tbsps of your creamy homemade pesto
1. Prepare pasta according to package
directions. Drain and drizzle with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
2. While waiting for water to boil for the
pasta, start working on the other stuff. Sauté the mushrooms in a tablespoon or
two of olive oil until softened. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté a few
minutes more. Add pesto sauce, nutritional yeast and salt; simmer to reduce
until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add your pasta and serve, sprinkled with some nutritional yeast and fresh chopped basil if you have it and enjoy!