Monday, September 20, 2010

Linguine with Cilantro and Pepita Pesto

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This Month’s Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine showed a link for her new cookbook challenge.  Curiosity got the best of me (besides, like I could ever pass up a challenge!) so I looked up the link (here).   
The cookbook “High Flavor, Low Labor” by J.M. Hirsch, quickly catches my eye.  Hey, I’m all for less work!  Rachael’s recipe pick was for Linguine with Cilantro and Pepita Pesto.  What is a pepita???  Unshelled pumpkin seeds!  While the original recipe called for a manchego cheese, I sure couldn’t find it in any of our stores. A quick web search gave me a few alternative cheeses depending on if they were asking for aged manchego or not.  Since I was making a pesto I went with the assumption that aged would be best as I don’t like semi soft cheese like Monterey Jack or mozzarella in my pesto.  The cheese of my choice was a pecorino Romano.
food 106
Linguine with Cilantro and Pepita  Pesto    
12 ounces linguine
4 ounces manchego cheese, cut into small chunks, plus extra for garnish (I used Romano) 1⁄2 cup roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) I could only find raw pepitas so had to toast them first
1 cup packed fresh cilantro, thick stems removed  I do not like that much cilantro so adjusted to my own taste
1⁄2 tablespoon jarred jalapeño pepper slices
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1⁄4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cheese and pepitas. Pulse until finely ground. Add the cilantro, jalapeño peppers, garlic, oil, and lime juice. Process until the mixture forms fine, moist crumbs. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.
Add the pesto and the reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss well to coat and heat the pesto. Serve topped with additional cheese.
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