Sunday, June 13, 2010

For Nuts Who Are Nuts About Nuts - Pesto di Panna Noci

Most Americans are familiar with Pesto Genovese these days. That delightful combination of Sweet Basil leaves, Garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano and Pine Nuts with REALLY good olive oil. But there are many other Pesti (pastes made in a mortar and pestle) out there. Some made with Sundried Tomatoes, or Cilantro and Lime, even Stinging Nettle and Walnut.

But one of my favorites, that I don't really make often enough, come to think of it, is Walnut Milk Pesto. Then again, maybe this qualifies as a Sugo (sauce). Either way, if you are crazy about nuts and love "white" sauced pasta, I urge you to give this a whacky whirl. You won't be disappointed.

The milk tones down the tannic walnuts while the basil brightens the finish, it's rich and creamy without being heavy. My suggestion for this is always a nice Parmigiano-Reggiano stuffed Tortellini and a good Orvieto (lightly sweet white wine) though I have discovered that even a light (not White) Zinfandel is quite nice as well.

Pesto di Panna Noci

7 oz (199g) Walnuts (toasted)
2 oz (57g) Pine nuts
2 cloves Garlic
4 Basil Leaves
2 TB Panko
8 oz Whole Milk (that is about 250 ml) though you may need a little more.
3 TB Olive oil
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper

Lay your walnuts out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 6-8 minutes; until fragrant.

Allow them to cool before placing them in the food processor (normally I am an advocate for hand chopping pesto with a mezzaluna to create a more complex texture, but with the addition of the milk, this will just be to wet, so a food processor it is.)

Gently pulse the walnuts until they are broken into small pieces but not ground up yet. (you are trying to achieve the size of a pine nut)

Now add the pine Nuts, Garlic cloves, Basil Leaves, and Bread Crumbs.

Pulse this until it is nice and uniform in size.

Begin pouring the milk into the feeder tube, while pulsing the food processor.

Until the pesto has the consistency of partially beaten heavy cream. (or the thickness of a runny egg yolk)

Pour into a bowl and hit it with the olive oil, stirring it in, to combine.

Boil up some Parmigiano-Reggiano stuffed tortellini.

Chiffonade some Basil.

Place the tortellini in a bowl.

Spoon the Walnut deliciousness over the pasta.

Top with the Basil Chiffonade, and serve.

Pesto Di Panna Nocci on Foodista


Patti T. said...

Wow, you come up with the best recipe. This look absolutely delicious. Hubby and I love white sauces. Mmmmmmm.

DutchBakerGirl said...

I'm sure I'd go "nuts" over this! LOL Seriously, it's so good to see you back and your pasta looks really good.

Bob said...

I didn't know that's what pesto meant, although it makes sense. Heh. I love that one, I definitely want to try it.

Unknown said...

yummy!! I've never heard of a "white" pesto. funny how ones (read mine) mind gets stuck. I love this!!!