Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Farfalle with Creamy Basil-Walnut Pesto

I took another healthy vegetarian cooking class a few weeks ago with the same chef and instructor who taught the healthy vegan Indian food class I took. This class was all about using herbs and spices to add flavor to your cooking. My favorite recipe was this one for a Creamy Basil-Walnut Pesto. Made with soy (or rice or almond) milk and whole wheat bread to thicken, it tastes rich and decadent. We had it on penne for class but it is equally good on whole wheat farfalle for an easy, healthy pasta dinner. The walnuts give a good dose of those all important omega-3 fatty acids too.

Farfalle with Creamy Basil-Walnut Pesto
Chef Alyssa Moreau
(Serves 4)

1 lb farfalle or pasta of your choice
1 slice whole wheat bread
1/2 cup milk (soy, rice or almond)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Garnishes (optional): 
chopped parsley
additional Parmesan
chopped walnuts
chopped basil

Cook pasta according to directions on the package, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Trim crusts from bread. Place bread and milk into a blender or food processor. Let sit a few minutes to soften the bread. Add the rest of the ingredients along with 3 Tbsp of the pasta water and blend until smooth. (Use last Tbsp of water if too thick). Toss into cooked pasta and coat well. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish as desired. Serve immediately.

Note: Good with cooked broccoli, sauteed mushrooms or peas tossed in.

Notes/Results: Delicious! I used a big bag of local basil from the farmer's market and tossed some frozen peas into the cooking liquid with the pasta for the last couple of minutes. Garnished with a bit of cheese, walnuts, and some more basil on top, it was perfect. 

I'm going to send this along to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by its creator, Ruth at 4EveryKitchen. The round up will be posted on her site this Friday. A great place to see a lot of wondrful pasta recipes.


  1. What a great version of pesto! I bet it's creamy from the milk. It looks fantastic!

  2. I love everything about this! Yum!

  3. I've seen walnut pesto and basil pesto but not together, this sounds like a great combo!

  4. You had me with farfalle.. I am your pasta gal. I love basil with my pasta - such a great pairing, and yes please to the extra cheese!

  5. I like any pasta with the word creamy in its name. The basil-walnut pesto is making me drool. Thanks for sharing!

  6. So nice when "healthy" also translates to "delicious". Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.


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