Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Recipe: 2-Minute Homemade Pesto with Cashewnuts + Spaghetti with Pesto & Crispy Bacon

Have you ever heard of "pine nut syndrome" or "pine mouth"? In the past, we have always made our pesto using pine nuts (authentic Italian recipes call for it) but on one occasion, I made it, ate it and then suddenly everything tasted bitter and metallic, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I googled it and found out that I had "pine nut syndrome". Mine lasted for almost two weeks, which meant everything tasted so bad and I just didn't feel like eating anymore. It put me off pine nuts and I stopped making pesto for a while.

Nowadays, when I'm making pesto, I try to substitute pine nuts with other nuts such as cashew or walnuts. The result is just as good and they're much cheaper than pine nuts too. Plus I always have a supply of the latter two nuts at home, whereas I always have to make a special trip to the supermarket in the past to get pine nuts. Try it and see if you like it!

The kids requested for pesto pasta today, and coincidentally my sweet basil plant is looking beautiful and bushy. I made the pesto using the food processor this time, which meant it was ready in under 2 minutes. We topped our pasta with some crispy bacon, Parmesan shaving, cherry tomatoes and toasted cashew nuts. A deliciously, satisfying lunch ;)

Homemade pesto with cashewnuts
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 2 minutes
Serves 4

50g fresh basil leaves
40g toasted cashew nuts
30g freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or Grana Padano)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
8-10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt, or to taste

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz for 1 minute until you get a paste. Add more oil, if required, then blitz for another 20 seconds.

2. Store in a clean jar in the fridge covered with a slick of oil to prevent it drying out. However, homemade pesto is best served immediately.

*Your child can help with this - washing the basil leaves, measuring the ingredients and putting all the ingredients into the food processor.

Spaghetti with pesto and crispy bacon
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 8-10 minutes
Serves 4

1 quantity homemade pesto (recipe as above)
300g spaghetti pasta
4 rashers streaky bacon, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
A large handful toasted cashewnuts
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water over medium high heat until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the spaghetti and place in a large bowl.

2. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoonful of olive oil over medium high heat. Add bacon, and cook for about 5 minutes, until it is crispy. Remove and set aside.

3. Toss pasta with pesto, until nicely coated. Add some olive oil (about 1 tbsp) if it seems a little dry.

4. To serve: Using a two-pronged carving fork, swirl some of the pasta around the fork. Slide the pasta off the fork and mound it in the center of a plate. Repeat for each serving. Top with crispy bacon.

5. Garnish with the cherry tomatoes, shaved Parmesan cheese and cashew nuts.

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  1. Wow I've never heard of that before! I wonder if some people get it more than others. We use other nuts because pine nuts are so expensive and cashews and macadamias are great for it!

  2. Tried once - making my own pesto, can't remember what ingredients I used...but I don't think anybody liked it. Sobsssss!!!!

  3. Yen, I have always seen pesto recipes using pine nuts and I think it is great that cashew can be used too. Pine nuts are so expensive.

  4. Hi Yen, I wonder how you keep those cheese block? I wrap it with cling wrap & put in fridge but it always ended up molding ~>_<~

    1. Hi Choi Yen, usually I will put in an airtight tupperware. It will keep for about 4-6 weeks usually.


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