Friday, March 19, 2010

Amalfi Coast Pesto

This pesto started with a lemon... 
I know Spring is coming when I find unwaxed Amalfi lemons in the market. Sorrento, on the Amalfi coast of Italy, is supposed to produce some of the world’s best lemons, and it is a thrill (for a food geek like myself) to find them in my neighborhood grocery store. Nestled amongst the limes and blood oranges with their pretty green leaves still attached; they look entirely different to me, they look like art.
In addition to lemon zest what makes this recipe delicious is a large number of anchovy fillets. I happen to love anchovies, but do understand if they are not your thing—they can be omitted from this recipe (but they honestly do add so much to the dish).
I tossed the pesto with whole wheat spaghetti and served it with a garden salad.

6” baguette, ciabatta or good quality bread
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Zest of one large lemon
1 bunch parsley (2 fistfuls), washed—leave the stems on
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and quartered
6-12 anchovy fillets, rinsed (if packed in salt)—I use 12 anchovies
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1” square piece Parmesan, broken up
Extra virgin olive oil
 8 ounces whole wheat (or regular) spaghetti

1) Tear up the bread and whiz in a food processor until crumbs. Melt 1 tablespoon each, butter and olive oil in a sauté pan, add in the bread crumbs and sauté over medium to medium-low heat until just golden and crisp. Season with a bit of salt. Allow to cool completely before storing in a jar or resealable container. May be done a day ahead.

2) Put a pot of water (for the pasta) on to boil. Wipe out the food processor. Put the lemon, parsley, garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes and Parmesan in the work bowl and process—drizzling in oil as you go to form a paste.

Drain the pasta and toss with the pesto. Dish up and sprinkle lavishly with the breadcrumbs. Serves 2-4

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