whole wheat pasta with walnut + pistachio pesto

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The morning is somber, dreary and cold, yet I walked into the office radiating warmth. Amidst all of the frenzy and noise I’m thinking about how I can bring space and quiet into every moment of my day. I’m even considering taking evening breaks from technology in an effort to refuel and rejuvenate. I’ve so many books to read, magazines to explore and movies to watch, I think there’s something to disconnection. Lately I’ve been thinking about how I can expand my thinking by reading outside of my comfort zone. Overseas newspapers, political publications — I’m swathing myself in great thinking, allowing that to light the way.

Luckily I am coming home to this tonight. A warm bowl of pesto pasta, a hot shower, a fine film.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb whole wheat penne
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
2 fat cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, packed in olive oil (optional)
2 tbsp reserve pasta water

DIRECTIONS
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While your water is bubbling, blitz your nuts, basil and garlic until it’s a thick paste. Feel free to toss in the sundried tomatoes if you’re aching for a little color and texture. However, if you do, dial down the salt as the tomatoes tend to be a tad on the salty side. Stream in the olive oil (adding more based on your desired consistency) and then add the salt + pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Once the water is at a bowl, toss in your pasta and cook to al dente, saving 2 tbsp of pasta water aside. This will make your soft satiny and creamy without adding cream. I could possibly go on for hours on how cream simply ruins the nuanced flavors of a perfect pesto, but I’ll spare you the agony and just say this: YOU DON’T NEED CREAM.

Once the pasta is done, drain and add your pesto and reserve water to the pot. Serve with some pecorino romano or gruyere, if you please.

quick eats: whole wheat pasta + kale walnut pesto

Kale Walnut Pesto
This week amidst one of many conference calls I took in a remote hotel room I found myself uttering the words, I need to think about my life. I didn’t realize that I’d said this out loud, but I did, and I’m realizing saying this right now means something. Because everything means something even if we don’t know it. Even if we’re trying to deny it. Part of me is battling a tension between my life now and where it could be in a year or two year’s time, and right now, at this moment, I feel very much stuck in the betweens.

So while I sort out all this mess, I’m taking comfort in keeping the rest of my world simple. Easy eats, quiet nights, close friends…

INGREDIENTS
2 cups baby kale, packed
1 cup basil leaves, packed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp panko (or bread crumbs)
Salt/pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 lb whole wheat penne or rotini

DIRECTIONS:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While your water is coming to a boil, blitz in a food processor the kale, basil, garlic, and walnuts until it’s a thick, clumpy paste. Stream in the olive oil and add salt/pepper to taste. Set aside.

Once the water is bubbling, add in a handful of kosher salt. Add the pasta and stir and cook until al dente (1-2 minutes under your package instructions. Once the pasta is done, drain and toss in with the pesto and panko, and add grated cheese or additional walnuts if you’re keen on more flavor.

Enjoy!

Kale Walnut Pesto