Vermicelli with Basil and Pine Nuts Pesto (Pesto alla Genovese)

After a week in Newport Beach overlooking the ocean, watching my boys mastering basketball and swimming, having all kind of goodies and of course the best gelatos ever, yesterday we decided to come home instead of going to Escondido.

It is not that we suspended our summer vacation, but for medical reasons, stopped at Loma Linda. Being close to home, we came to check our kitchen garden and especially our “tomato heaven” that is becoming a true “tomato jungle”. We picked the ripe ones and ate them raw. I can’t wait until harvest time. That is going to be a true tomato bacchanal!
In just a week all my herbs grew like crazy, especially the basil. All the basil varieties were blooming. I took away the flowers for the plants to grow bushier and because I have heard flowers change the flavor of the leaves.
I also decided to plant the little sweet basil plants we bought in Newport (I was craving for strawberry and basil mojitos and bought a few plants instead of buying a few leaves for the same price.) Since there is never enough basil in my house, we built another wood bed to keep growing, gopher free, more basil and parsley.
After trimming all the basil I decide to make pesto alla genovese: the classic pesto with basil and pine nuts. We all love this pesto because of the Italian guy we all have in our hearts and tummies: we love basil, we love olive oil, we love garlic, we love parmesan cheese and of course we love pasta.
Having all those ingredients combined in just one dish is something nobody in my family can resist and this is why spaghetti with basil pesto is a must in my kitchen, especially during the summer. It doesn’t take a lot of work to do it. The whole dish including the pasta can be made in just 10 minutes. So, what can be better than that?
By the way, I used to make pesto by muddling by hand, in my marble mortar, the basil leaves with the garlic, olive oil and pine nuts. It took forever. I switched to the modern method (processing everything in a food processor, thank to my twitter friend @lesteves) and trust me: this pesto is ready in five minutes, including the time to pick, wash and dry the leaves.
Here is my recipe. I hope you like it and I will be posting something good from Escondido and La Jolla!
Vermicelli with Basil and Pine Nuts Pesto | Ingredients for 6 portions
1 package of vermicelli or angel hair
4 cups of basil leaves
4 garlic cloves pressed with the blade of a knife
½ cup of pine nuts
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
¼ cup of parmesan cheese grated (I used Grana Padano)

Put the water for the pasta to boil. In a food processor, process the basil, nuts, garlic and salt to taste. While processing, add the olive oil and process until everything is well combined. Pour the pesto in a bowl, add the cheese and mix well. You may need to add some more olive oil. In the meantime, cook the pasta and once it’s al dente, strain it, and let some fresh water run on top to stop cooking. Strain again. In a big bowl mix the pesto with the pasta. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.

To print the recipe click here.

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