I just bought a pot of living basil, and it smells divine. What could be a more obvious use for basil than whipping up a nice batch of pesto? Pesto traditionally calls for pine nuts, but I've chosen to use almonds instead (mostly because pine nuts are so expensive). This recipe is for pesto penne, but you could put it on fish, meat, pizza, or whatever else your heart desires. It's fast. It's easy. It's tasty. It's versatile. What more could you want?
2-3 T Olive Oil
¾ cup almonds
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 generous pinches of salt
1 handful of fresh basil
1 small clove garlic
juice of half of a lemon
1 package whole wheat penne
Throw everything except pasta into food processor (or pestle and mortar if you have one) and combine until no large pieces of almond remain
Check for taste and add more of anything
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil (no need to add oil)
Cook pasta until al dente, following the time on the package
Save 1 cup of starch water before draining pasta
Add 1 tablespoon of pesto at a time to pasta and slowly pour in ¼ cup water at a a time while mixing. The starch water will help the pesto stick to the pasta and the heat from the noodles will melt the cheese. Alternate between adding pesto, adding water and stirring until the pasta is covered to your liking. I used about 4 T pesto (half of the recipe) and ½ cup water for 1 package of penne.