This creamy pesto pasta is something I experimented with by combining a rather cheesy sauce with an experimental pesto recipe. The resultant gooey goodness tasted like a smooth ride through an ocean of thick, warm, oozing decadence punctured by an undertone of mint from the pesto. I added in some vegetables to make myself feel better about the amount of cheese and butter that went into making this recipe, but feel free to omit this, because let’s face it, the vegetables fooled nobody, least of all my thighs.
Anyway, this took me roughly twenty minutes from start to finish and serves two. Generously. Make of that what you may.
Desi Pesto Pasta
4 parts slightly undercooked (al-dente) pasta (I used macaroni)
1 large carrot, cut into bite-sized strips (don’t grate them, no matter how lazy you are) – roughly 1 part
2 part cheddar cheese grated (I use regular tinned Amul cheese, nothing fancy, though I’m told the fancier your cheese, the more flavour. Though, I like my cheese simple, thanks.)
1 part milk
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced (I love garlic, so my cloves were pretty huge, but this is really dependent on your taste)
1 part cashewnuts (you can substitute this with pine nuts and walnuts. I may try my hand at substituting this with roasted peanuts some time in the future, and see how that turns out)
2 parts mint (regular pudina, use only the leaves and remember to use fresh leaves)
1 tbsp butter ( mmmmmmmmmm butter)
3 tbsp olive oil (this is only for the pesto, nothing else)
Salt and pepper to taste
Oregano (this is purely optional)
While the pasta is still warm, add in the milk, butter, half of the cheese, egg, carrots, salt, pepper and half of the garlic. Cook this for a few minutes on low heat, constantly stirring until the sauce thickens and begins to bubble. Take it off the heat at this stage and continue to stir. The idea is to ensure the egg doesn’t scramble (though, really, there’s nothing wrong with scrambled eggs). Once the sauce has thickened a little more, add in the oregano (if using) and stir again. The pasta should be cooked at this stage from its humble undercooked beginning.
In a mixie (or a food processor if you’re in the developed world, you fancy person, you), add the mint, cashewnuts, garlic, the remaining cheese, olive oil and salt and give it a good whiz. I like my pesto a little chunky, but feel free to experiment with the texture. Add this mixture to the pasta mixture and mix well. Sprinkle some pepper over this and dig in.
Lifehacks for the first timer
Use the flat side of your knife to crush your garlic to remove the peel and easily dice it.
You can use the cheese based sauce alone to make a creamy pasta or the pesto alone to make a pesto pasta and they both taste brilliantly foodgasmic.
To add in more flavour, reduce the quantity of milk and substitute it with any stock you might have in handy. I haven’t tried fish stock, so, don’t go there. Yet. Or you could experiment and let me know it goes.
To add some zing into the pasta if you’re not using the creamy sauce, squirt in some fresh lime.
The creamy sauce pasta tastes best when it’s warm, but I find that the pesto pasta tastes best when cold. You can toss in some of the fresh carrot into the pesto pasta and turn it into a healthy pasta salad too.
You can add in shredded chicken to the pasta as well. This is just the basic recipe for you to experiment upon.