A thick Basil Pesto with Spaghetti and Tomatoes
by eat in my kitchen
This pesto is as concentrated as basil pesto can be! I had two big bouquets of this aromatic herb on the table filling the air in the kitchen with the most beautiful smell – fresh, sweet and green! After half an hour of picking the leaves off the stems, I got rewarded with a big pile ready to be turned into a pesto! The weight was about 150g (5.5 ounces), a Mediterranean luxury I can only dream of in the city. I think I would have to buy 20 pots of basil at home to gather this amount!
Here in Malta I can create a luscious pesto which is richer than any pesto I’ve ever eaten before. It’s more of a spread than an oily sauce! The recipe is a classic, I mix the herb with pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt, but the amount of basil leaves and their intense taste make the difference. Herbs that grow in pots don’t develop such a strong aroma, the right soil and hours of sunshine, that’s what you taste in the end.
I often chop some fresh tomatoes into this dish, I like the freshness they add. Sometimes I mix in a few sautéed slices of zucchini but the red fruit is still my favourite!
Spaghetti with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes
For 4-6 people you need
spaghetti or linguine 400-600g / 14-21 ounces
tomatoes, chopped, 4-6
basil leaves 150g / 5.5 ounces
olive oil 150ml / 5 ounces plus more if you prefer the pesto more liquid
pine nuts 30g / 1 ounce
parmesan 40g / 1.5 ounces plus more for topping
garlic 2 big cloves
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
Cook the pasta in lots of salted water, al dente.
Mix the basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil in a blender and season with salt to taste.
Divide the hot pasta between the plates and add a dollop of pesto on top. Sprinkle with the tomatoes, parmesan and crushed pepper, serve immediately.