This is what happens when I get to many recipes backed up in the to-do file. I miss out on something that tasted really different, and really good. I looked at the date in my recipe folder when I copied this into it. January '07. Over a year ago. I could have had this fab pasta at least two or three times in that period. Better late than never, I guess.
I'm always looking at different things to do with my beloved pasta (the other half in the addictive carb union with bread). I remember this one caught my eye in the New York Times because it was so different...a raw pesto made from four different kinds of nuts. Since that was out of my scope at that time, I knew it was something I had to try. I just didn't know it'd take me a year+. C'est la vie, It was worth the wait, and if you want something out of the ordinary...and not that I care but vegetarian friendly... to spring on your jaded palates, you've got to rock this great dish!
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Bucatini With Raw Nut Pesto and Tomato Sauce
(Bucatini alla Lipari)
Time: About 40 minutes
for the tomato sauce:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 pound (about 2 cups) canned whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
the nut pesto and tomato sauce
for the pesto:
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups mixed whole raw nuts, like pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts
3 to 4 leaves of fresh mint
Freshly ground black pepper
for the pasta:
1 pound bucatini
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Grated sheep’s milk pecorino.
1. For tomato sauce: In a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and tomatoes with their juices, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered until most of the juices have evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare pesto.
2. For pesto: In a food processor, combine garlic, hot pepper flakes, olive oil, nuts and mint. Pulse to make a smooth paste (a slightly coarse nut butter). Season with black pepper to taste and set aside.
3. For pasta: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add bucatini and cook until al dente (firm to the bite). Set aside 1⁄2 cup pasta water, and drain pasta well. Return pasta to the warm pot and add pesto and tomato sauce. Toss well to coat, adding reserved water as needed to thin the sauce. Transfer to a warm serving bowl and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve with pecorino cheese passed separately.
Yield: 4 servings.
cooks note: a good quality pecorino is really key here, as it adds an essential saltiness to the dish. Also don't be shy with the pasta water as the nut pesto really thickens up.