Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pasta Di Noci

Now that the temperature is soaring we are all looking for easy recipes of cold plates or salads to plan our menus for dining alfresco, picnicking or something for the beach. So, I'm bringing out one of my favorite cold pasta dishes. I first had this dish in Venice a few years back in a little family trattoria in the Mestre. Most of the recipes for pasta di noci that you will find do not have the secret ingredient that we have here and that is the raisins, which add just a little bit of sweetness and texture, a perfect complement for the cheese and walnut tastes.

While on the subject of pasta one of my favorite brands is Barilla. Many people don't know what makes this brand so popular and the number one brand in Italy. The truth is that Barilla pasta does not stick. So, you'll never get clumps of pasta all stuck together making the plate look like a mushy mess. I don't really know how they do it but Barilla pasta always comes out with every strand perfectly separated. Try it and you'll see.

Pasta with Walnut Pesto Sauce
(Salsa di Noci)
Serves 6

A classic pasta dish with a refreshing twist: walnuts. This recipe is easy yet sophisticated. Serve with a light lemon vinaigrette summer salad or enjoy alone.

16 ounces Thin Spaghetti(one box)
2 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins


Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain well.

Remove and discard woody parsley and basil stems.

Place all of the sauce ingredients in food processor or blender. Cover and process on medium speed about 3 minutes or until smooth, stopping blender occasionally to scrape sides. Add More oil if needed to that the consistency is slightly less than that of a classic pesto sauce.

Transfer pasta and sauce into a large bowl and toss until evenly coated. Add the whole raisins and more chopped walnuts to taste. Sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Serve cooled or cold.

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