August 9, 2013

Almond-Mint Pesto Pasta

The combo "Almond - Mint" is the highlight of this pasta recipe! While almond is sweet and subtle, mint is fresh, flavorful and so fricking delicious! No cheese; No fat; just pure goodness in every bite! Ideal for lunch boxes and picnic, this recipe sure will impress the kids. What a great way to give your kids some almondy-goodness!


Just make sure to pulse/chop pesto to have a coarser body, for when you eat, you can differentiate the minuscule bits of mint leaves from the teeny-tiny bits of almond, which you 'll miss if the ingredients are blended into one smooth paste. Whether you hand-chop the ingredients or use a food processor/mixer to do the job, you really have to remember this & try!

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 5 mins
Cook time - 10 mins
Serves - 3-4

Ingredients
Fresh Mint leaves - 1 cup (packed)
Slivered Almonds - 1/3 cup (Raw)
Pasta - 300 gms (You can use any kind of pasta)
Garlic cloves - 1-2 nos
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Cream cheese - 2 tsp (optional)
Salt - to taste
Crushed pepper - as required

Method
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add enough amount of salt and stir well. Add pasta and cook for about 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally until pasta is al-dente or follow the package instructions. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.

For the Pesto
In a food processor, combine mint leaves, almonds, garlic cloves and process until you get a coarser mixture of the ingredients.

In a pan, slightly heat olive oil, add crushed pepper (add as much as you like or skip it altogether), pesto, 2 tsp of cream cheese and mix well. To this, add drained pasta and toss well to combine. Thin out the pesto with the reserved pasta water, if necessary.

Serve hot and enjoy!


Tips
- Make sure your pasta water is well salted. With food this simple, you need to get the seasoning right.
- Cream cheese can be replaced with shredded parmesan. If using parmesan, add it towards the end.
- I am not very particular about the raw garlic flavor, but if you like it, you can always add more.
- You could also use toasted almonds, but we love the mild flavor from raw almonds.

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