Yield: 6 servings
In this easy dinner recipe, tender penne pasta is tossed in a rich basil pesto made with toasted hazelnuts. Make this a heartier vegetarian meal by adding roasted mushrooms or chickpeas, or serve it alongside grilled chicken or fish.
For the Pasta
- 1 pound penne, cooked to al dente
- ¾ cup Hazelnut Pesto (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
For the Pesto
- 5 cups loosely packed basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ cup toasted hazelnuts
- ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Make the pesto. Add the basil, garlic, hazelnuts, Parmesan cheese, and ¼ cup of the olive oil to a blender or food processor. Pulse in 10 to 15 second intervals to chop all ingredients. With the machine on low, slowly pour in the remaining olive oil. Scrape the sides of the container as needed.
Blend for about 20 seconds until all ingredients are finely chopped and a thick pesto results. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Place the warm pasta in a large bowl. Add the pesto and toss to coat the pasta well. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and shaved Parmesan. Serve warm.