Spaghetti Al Pesto
Updated: Apr 13
Pesto is a love or hate affair. It is whether you love the aromatic greens or you straight-out hated it. To be honest, I dislike pesto. Maybe I had some bad ones or perhaps, the greens are too much for me to handle. Somehow over the years, it started to grow on me. Partly, I started to step into the kitchen and cook or bake more which had led me to this endeavor.
As far as I can recall, when I said I had some bad pesto, I mean that the pesto isn't even green in color! That's how bad it was. Anyway, I am sure there are thousands upon thousands of pesto recipes online; there's the famous traditional method by SeriousEats whereby the pesto is made in a pestle and mortar. There's also a modern-day technique well explained by the wonderful Helen Rennie.
Today, I am using the modern-day method. Let's save the traditional way of making pesto for another day. I am also not using any basil nor pine nuts. I am using what I have in my pantry; which are parsley and stale bread. You can of cos use any aromatic herbs or nuts as desired. For extra complexities, you can use a combination of herbs or nuts. The possibilities are pretty vast.
Stale bread crumbs remind me of where I came from. I didn't have much growing up; my grandma would visit bakeries and asked for those unwanted bread ends or trimmings. She would blitz them into bread crumbs. That was pretty much our dinner already, and if any of us complained, we would literally go hungry. Anyway, I hope you will give this recipe a try.
Stale Bread, 30g
Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 TSP
Garlic, 1 Clove
Parmigiano Reggiano, 8g
High Quality Olive Oil, 26g + More For Storing
Unsalted Butter Softened, 14g
Sea Salt, Pinch
Spaghetti / Any Pasta Of Your Choice, 100g
Hot Water, 400g
Sea Salt, Pinch
Chili Flakes, Pinch
Dried Lavender Preferably Organic, Pinch
Sambal Hijau, 1 TBSP Adjust To Preference
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Please visit my "How To Make Sambal Hijau" page for the recipe.
Prepare the pesto.
Toast stale bread in a toaster or oven until crisp-toasted.
Transfer into food processer and blitz into crumbs.
We only need 15g of bread crumbs. Keep the remaining 15g chilled in the fridge until ready to use.
With 15g of bread crumbs still in the food processer, add in parsley.
Blitz until the parsley has broken down.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and continue blitzing until everything is fully incorporated.
*Scrape down the sides for even blitzing.*
*I prefer my pesto with some texture, but if you prefer a smooth pesto, add a bit of water to blitz until smooth and pass the pesto thru a sieve.*
Transfer into a sterilized jar and add a layer of olive oil.
Keep chilled in the fridge overnight before using. It can be kept chilled for up to 7 days.
Prepare the pasta.
In a skillet or pan over medium heat, add pasta & hot water.
Season the water with some salt.
Once the pasta water becomes starchy, add 2 TBSP of the pasta water into the pesto to loosen up. Give the pesto a quick stir.
By the time the water has almost evaporate, the pasta should just be under al dente.
As quickly as you can, add the pesto into the pasta.
Add more pasta water into the jar to clean out all the nooks and crannies. Transfer into the pasta.
Immediately, toss to combine well.
Remove from heat and sprinkle chili flakes, lavender, the remaining bread crumbs and add in the sambal hijau.
Give it a quicky toss.
Transfer onto serving plates and serve immediately.
Sambal hijau adds that zingy aftertaste...
Always choose pasta that has rough surfaces like that...
It will create more starchy pasta water, thus no extra cream nor cheese...
This recipe is featured in my ECookbook: