After our trip to Malta, which is heavily influenced by Italian cooking, I decided it was time to up my pasta game. I never really learned how to cook pasta growing up. Though we ate it, the idea of cooking it went little past boiling water and heating up sauce. Surely, there had to be some secret to making really delicious pasta, the kind where not only the sauce tasted wonderful, but also the noodles themselves.
Enter this recipe I found on Bon Appetite called Red Pesto Pasta. A few weeks ago my food processor broke, so I did this the old school way by hand (with a mortar and pestle). It’s much, much easier to make a quick, whipped up version of this red pesto with a food processor, but it can be done. Layers of flavor, which include anchovies, smashed-then-fried garlic, and toasted walnuts, all make this a keeper.
6 oil-packed anchovy fillets
4 garlic cloves, smashed
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup walnuts
3 Tbsp. double-concentrated tomato paste
2 red Fresno chiles, split lengthwise, seeds removed
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 oz. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
1 lb. spaghetti
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Cook anchovies, garlic, oil, and walnuts in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until walnuts are deeply golden and garlic is just beginning to turn golden, 4–5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it turns a shade darker, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
Transfer walnut mixture (including the oil) to a food processor. Add chiles, lemon juice, 3 oz. Parmesan, and ½ tsp. salt. Pulse until a thick paste forms.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid.
Scrape pesto into a large bowl and add butter, then pasta and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Using tongs, toss pasta vigorously, adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed (you may not need all of it), until glossy and well coated with sauce.
Divide pasta among bowls. Season with more salt and top with Parmesan.
Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Sourced from Bon Appetite. Click here for original link: