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Pasta with Nut Pesto

This version of Arab-inspired casareccia con la frutta secca is adapted from Giovanna Tornabene's La Cucina Sicilian di Gangivecchio (Knopf).

Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 12

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  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 medium garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virigin olive oil
  • 2 tabelspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 pounds casareccia or penne


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the hazelnuts in a small baking pan until fragrant, about 12 minutes. Transfer them to a clean kitchen towel and rub the nuts against each other to remove the skins; let cool completely.
  2. In a food processor, combine the basil, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, the grated cheese, parsley, garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper. With the machine on, pour in the oil in a thin stream and process until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the butter and process until blended but still grainy.
  3. Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add salt and the pasta. Cover partially until the water just returns to a boil, then uncover, stir the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a warmed large serving bowl. Add the nut pesto and toss to combine. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved past water if the sauce is too thick. Serve immediately.

Make Ahead

Transfer the pesto to a large jar, tap out any air bubbles and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before proceeding to Step 3.

Contributed By Published May 1997

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