Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spaghetti with Sausage and Cilantro Pesto

Who says pesto can only be made with basil and pine nuts? Certainly not me! I have been testing different ways of making pesto - using different types of herbs and nuts to see how the flavors changes. I tried this cilantro (or coriander) pesto a couple nights ago and was pleasantly surprised by the result. Cilantro can be a little overpowering at times, so I used a handful of peas in the mixture to soften its taste and it worked well with mild Italian sausage.

The point is.. I might be a bit of a rebel (but certainly not a maverick!) and don't really like following recipes too closely. I do when I bake - doughs can turn out seriously wrong if you don't follow ratios - but when I cook savory foods, I tend to let my imagination go. Pesto is one of those things I tend to have a sudden craving for, so it helps to be able to tweak the original recipe and make it with what I have on hand that day.

Recipe (for 4)
One bunch of cilantro
2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of pine nuts, lightly toasted if possible
1/4 cup of frozen peas, thawed
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
450 g spaghetti (for 4 people)
2 good quality mild Italian sausages from your Deli
2 tablespoons of bread crumbs

To make the pesto: In a blender place the cilantro, garlic and pine nuts. Pulse. Slowly add the olive oil while blending. Once half of the oil is added, add the peas. Pulse again. Add the lemon juice. Once the mixture is smooth (but still a little chunky) add the Parmesan and pulse again. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Boil the water for the pasta. Salt generously and cook the spaghetti for the indicated time on the package until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat a pan to medium high heat with a good drizzle of olive oil. Slice the sausage and add to the hot pan in a single layer. Do not move the sausage for about 3 minutes. Turn on the oven side once the sausage is nicely browned. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Make sure the breadcrumbs are nicely toasted and coat the sausage. Once the sausage is cooked through, remove and place on a paper towel to soak up excess fat.

Once the pasta is cooked, add a small ladle of the pasta water to your reserved pesto to loosen the sauce. Drain the pasta and transfer to the pan with the sausage. Add the sausage, the pesto and mix in. Serve. Enjoy!


Joanna said...

I always make the same pesto ... time for a change, thanks for the inspiration :)


Natalie said...

This looks really good, and cilantro is one of my favorite herbs. I have to try this. And yes, good thing you're a rebel and not a maverick... two self-proclaimed mavericks is more than this country needs.

Jules said...

I've never made my own pesto before. I really like the sound of cilantro pesto.

Deborah said...

I love the idea of adding peas so it's not too strong! This sounds like a delicious meal!

NĂºria said...

Mmmm a lovely dish! I never made my own pesto, but will keep your recipe if it has gone through all this trials ;D

Pasta is always a winner in the table.

sarah j. gim said...

oh HONEY. love the idea (too bad cilantro makes me cringe) BUT i'd still try it because it looks dang good! ;)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That sounds like an interesting change that I wouldn't have considered. Glad to hear it worked out and I'll have to keep it in mind

Heather said...

mmmm cilantro pesto! it sounds good, especially with the sausage!

Lisa said...

I'll take some of this for dinner and some of the lime cookies for dessert:)

Snooky doodle said...

hmm I love pesto. However i ve never tried cilantro pesto. sounds good though

Leslie said...

Not a Maverick???LOL
Thanks for finding and visiting my lead me to finding yours!
Beautiful site!

Monkee said...

I've used spinach + walnuts to make pesto before and it turned out pretty yum.
My dad used to say that the best chefs are the ones who dare to explore. I'm sure you make an excellent one.

Em said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! Your photos look fabulous!!
I'm bookmarking your blog right now!


I have tried many pesto recipes, this one is one I need to try. Your blog looks amazing. Can I post it on my favorites?

Chocolate Shavings said...

Mike the chef: Thank you! You can definitely post it in your favorites. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I love experimenting with pesto - it's soversitile. Your spaghetti looks scrumptuous!

Prudy said...

I love making pesto of all flavors. Cilantro is one of my favorites. This looks phenomenal with the addition of sausage.

Dee said...

What a lovely blog you have. I'm new, but I'll be back if you don't mind. Your photos are stunning by the way.

Emilia said...

This sounds great, I'm a big fan of cilantro so this would probably be something I'd like.
Using the peas was also a great idea :)

Esi said...

Can I just say, you have an incredibly beautiful site! Also, I absolutely love cilantro so I definitely want to try this pesto sometime!

Thip said...

That the way we should cook--let our imagination leads the kitchen. :)

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