Basil Walnut Pasta

Recipe Provided By: Chef Lidia Bastianich

1 ½  cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 plump garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups walnut halves or pieces, toasted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
 ½ cup extra- virgin olive oil, plus a bit more for storing to dress the pasta
1 cup freshly grated pecorino (or half pecorino and half Grana Padano or Parmigiano- Reggiano, for a milder flavor), plus more for passing

If you’re using the pesto right away to dress maccheroni alla chitarra (or other pasta), heat a large pot of salted water to a boil before processing the sauce.

To make the pesto: Heap the basil, parsley, garlic, walnuts, and salt into the food processor. Pulse several times, to chop everything together coarsely, then, with the machine running, pour in the 1/2 cup olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Stop and scrape down the sides of the work bowl, and process to a
uniformly fine bright-g reen pesto.

Put all the pesto into a large, deep bowl, big enough to toss all the pasta in. Meanwhile, start cooking the maccheroni or other pasta. Shortly before it is done, ladle 1/2 cup or so of the boiling pasta water into the bowl, and stir to warm and loosen the pesto-use only as much water as needed to bring the pesto to tossing consistency.

When the maccheroni is perfectly al dente, lift it from the pot with tongs and a spider, drain for an instant, then drop it into the bowl. Toss pasta and sauce together thoroughly. Sprinkle a cup or so of grated cheese over it, then toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls, with more cheese at the table.

To store and use the pesto later: Scrape it from the food processor into a small jar or container. Smooth the top surface, and cover it with a thin layer of olive oil or a piece of plastic wrap to prevent discoloration.  Refrigerate for a week, or freeze for several months; warm to room temperature before using.

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