21 July 2010

Pepita Pesto

If I were a normal person, which I've obviously never claimed to be, I would never use the word pepita. Unfortunately I'm one of those people who really like using words that most people don't know, and now you've been subjected to pepita. Do you feel victimized? Perhaps you should.

Pepita is just the name of pumpkin seeds after they've come out of those crunchy shells we always roast after we've scraped them out of our annual jack-o-lanterns. Well, they're the raw inner seed that comes out of the shells after those shells come out of the stringy innards of the pumpkin after we've scooped those vomit-like innards from a perviously whole and handsome squash. Now you know. This was simple and amazing. I served over about 3/4 pound of fresh pasta and it fed the five beautifully. Add sliced yellow heirloom tomatoes, and summer heaven smiled upon us. Don't want to make fresh pasta? Good, because then this will come together in 10 minutes flat. You win.

Pepita Pesto

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (PE-PI-TA, do I have to say it again?)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Put your pasta on to boil. I imagine you could do anything from 8 to 16 oz dried, depending on how intense you like your pesto. I highly recommend a whole wheat pasta for the added nuttiness and excellent bite. While those noodles are searching for their al dente nirvana, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until they start to brown and smell marvelous and nutty. This dries them out and intensifies their flavour. Toss them in the food processor or blender and pulse until they're roughly chopped. Grind your garlic, salt and pepper into a paste using your mortar and pestle (well, then get one! That was the answer to your unasked question.) I suppose you could throw them in the food processor, but the paste coats the noodles ever so much better and prevents little shots of garlic from draining your sinuses unexpectedly during dinner. Add the paste and basil to the processor and pulse until chopped but not pasty. Pour that olive oil evenly over the top and process until fully combined. This is where you decide how pasty you want it. Want it finer? Super, process some more. Add parmesan and pulse to just combine. I left mine rather dry to avoid too much oil, and it was just fine. Want it a bit oilier and fruitier? Add a little more olive oil and process or stir.

Drain your pasta (don't rinse—Just shake!) then combine pasta and pesto in a bowl and stir to combine. Eat.

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