Throughout the House

Covering everything from the bedroom closet to the kitchen closet

Rotini with Parsley-Tomato Pesto

I was supposed to be doing homework today. I managed to get out of taking a quiz on Friday because I promised my teacher I’d to all the practice work I had missed during my week-long absence. I’ve been alone in the house for the entire day, with no distractions. It would’ve been a perfect environment in which to focus on my studies, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And that’s because I had an itch that could only be scratched by cooking.

Last night, my mom and I were going to spend some quality time making tabbouleh bread for a party this evening. We even went to the store and got all of the ingredients like responsible human beings. And then on our way home we decided to go out for martinis, completely forgetting our bread-making plans. While it was fun spur-of-the-moment bonding time, I was left to make the bread by myself today (to be ready by 8 o’clock). That’s when I found out that the bread had to sit in the fridge for 10-14 hours. Seeing as I found this out when it was already past noon, and there were several other hours of waiting time, I realized that the project was impossible (thus furthering my habitual avoidance of bread-making). Initially, I thought to myself Oh, good. Now I can really get on top of this math work. If only. In an effort to put off doing real work as long as possible, I began searching every inch of the internet for a perfect recipe.

I couldn’t do a cake, because somebody was already bringing a cake. That bitch. I also had to pick something with at least a little sophistication, because the party would be with a bunch of rich foodies. I couldn’t just make cupcakes or cookies. It’s also probably worth mentioning that the only things I really cook for other people are desserts, which was another thing I had to consider: I’m not exactly a maestro of savory. So I had to limit my search: no desserts, relatively simple, somewhat tasteful (or at least easy to disguise as tasteful). And I finally found something: this recipe for parsley pesto fusilli.

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I tweaked the recipe a little in several places, and that’s how I justify making my own post about it when I guess I could just share the link to the actual thing on Facebook. Here’s a basic idea of what I used:

  • 1 (12 oz) box of rotini pasta; it doesn’t matter what kind you used. The rotini available at the store was cheaper than the fusilli.
  • ~2 cups of parsley
  • 1 (6 oz) bag of shelled walnuts. Again, for some reason these were just way cheaper than the chopped walnuts. Also, really any kind of nut will do.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil to your heart’s desire
  • a 10.5 oz grape tomatoes. I realize that’s kind of an awkward amount, so any size package will do and you can add as many (or as few) tomatoes as you like
  • grated pecorino romano cheese

The very first thing I did was put the water on to boil. No, that’s not true. The very first thing I did was get Fleetwood Mac up on Spotify. Then I started the water. Ultimately I ended up with the pasta done a little while before the pesto, but it didn’t cause any problems and it’s better to have the pasta done a little early than to completely forget about it while you’re chopping away, right?

After I had the pasta situation squared away (i.e., I had successfully filled a pot with water and carried it across the kitchen to the stove without dropping it on my toes, turned on the burner, and found a lid), I promptly started on the pesto. I grabbed some parsley (something we fortunately had a multitude of due to the prior plans for tabbouleh) and started chopping it. I didn’t chop it too thin because it’d end up going into the food processor anyway, but I just wanted my parsley to have a more uniform size. It’s probably a waste of time to someone who isn’t quite as picky as I am.

When I was content with the amount of parsley I had (I got lazy just before I hit 2 cups, but any amount around there would’ve worked just as well), I put the walnuts into the food processor and ran it until they were about 1/4-1/2 inch in diameter. Just like the parsley, it’s not such a huge deal what size they are because they’re going to be chopped up some more in a little while.

I put the parsley and walnuts into a bowl together and started chopping the garlic. In the recipe I was “following”, it told me to mash the garlic, but I didn’t know what that meant so I stuck it under a tenderizing mallet and put all of my weight on top of it, and the end result was a flattened clove of garlic. Turns out, flat garlic is a world easier to chop than when it’s in its normal state. When the garlic was chopped, I threw it in the bowl with the parsley and walnuts. Then I drizzled some olive oil on it (about a tablespoon for any measurement-oriented people out there) and started putting it in the food processor little by little. That was only because it wouldn’t all fit without making a giant mess as I dumped it in, so for those of you with a particularly large food processor or more disdain for cleanliness, feel free to do this part however you want.

After I had put the last of the un-processed mixture through the food processor, I decided to put it all back in for one last hurrah. When you take it out is up to you, depending on whether you want more of a crunchy accent to your pasta or a finer-grain coating. I also added some more olive oil at this point, to get a more unified texture rather than what I had which sort of reminded me of couscous.

When I was satisfied with the consistency of my pesto, I realized it felt a little bit lacking. We also had some grape tomatoes left over from the failed tabbouleh attempt, and I knew they wouldn’t get eaten if I didn’t use them so I just decided to go for it and really break away from the recipe. I put them in the food processor and just ran it until there were no whole tomatoes left, but the resultant texture was still chunky.

I mixed the tomatoes and juice and all into the pesto, and when I still felt like it was a little bit too bland, I added a couple spoonfuls of pecorino romano. You can flavor up your pesto however you want, though. I’m not a fan of pepper, so that’s just why I didn’t use that.

Finally, I mixed it with the pasta. I did this by spooning about a third of the pasta into a pretty bowl, followed by a few scoops of the pesto, and so on until I was all out of each. Then I mixed it together, folding and stirring, until each noodle was coated and there weren’t any globs of pesto hiding in the bowl.

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And it even tastes good!

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This entry was posted on March 22, 2014 by in Food.

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