Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a cilantro pasta recipe? for christmas?

i begin preparing winter recipes each year as soon as the weather turns cold ...i bake and roast and mash everything in sight. and...since we now celebrate canadian thanksgiving along with our traditional american t-day...i eat that meal two times each year. i decided i wanted something completely different for christmas dinner...and that led to cilantro pasta. now, i realize you must be thinking..."what on earth is she talking about?"...so let me explain...



sometimes i find myself creating an entire menu by taking apart a common recipe and using the ingredients in a different way...i bought avocados last week and made guacamole. the fresh ingredients are just so beautiful that i was inspired to use them for christmas...and i wanted a meal that was simple and delicious...so...here is what i came up with:

christmas dinner 2009
roasted tomato soup with jalapeƱos
prime rib roast
cilantro pasta
grilled avocados with grey salt, red pepper flakes and lime drizzle
lime marmalade pie
polenta cookies
o.k...i realize prime rib is not actually part of the recipe for guacamole (i know i will get loads of emails on this)...but i figure you can put slices of left over roast on a tortilla with guacamole for soft tacos the day after christmas...so i think we are good....

i am so excited about this menu...can't wait to prepare, serve and...of course...eat. i will try to remember to photograph and post...but in the interim...if you are still looking for ideas for your own holiday meal...or any other time...may i suggest cilantro pasta?!

i had a version of this dish years ago at a restaurant in pasadena...the parkway grill. they prepared it by adding cilantro leaves, toasted pine nuts and e.v.o.o. to cooked pasta. simple, beautiful and delicious...of course that depends on your feelings about cilantro...i find that people either love it or hate it....i fall in the love, love, love it category....so i have made this dish at home many times. i decided to tweak the recipe quite a bit (shocking, right?)...to give it a bit more depth...so i added a cilantro pesto to the above ingredients. very easy, very fast and...best of all...uses every bit of the cilantro bunch...no waste...

cilantro pasta
1 bunch organic cilantro
1 garlic clove
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pine nuts, toasted in dry skillet
grey salt
salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
kosher salt
1/2 lb. pasta...i like a flat wide shaped pasta (like reginette or fettuccine) for this dish...but use whatever you like
squeeze of fresh lime or freshly grated parmesano reggiano cheese.

chop the stems off the cilantro and separate from the leaves. cut off the very bottom tips of the stems (part that looks dry and brown) and discard. place the cleaned stems in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. add half of the cilantro leaves and 1/4 cup of the pine nuts. pulse until finely chopped. divide the e.v.o.o in half...you will only use 1/4 cup in the pesto. with the machine running, slowly pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. stop machine, scrape down sides and then continue pulsing until pesto is smooth but with a bit of texture. season to taste with grey salt. set aside.

meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. add a generous handful of sea salt to pot and when water comes back to a vigorous boil add pasta and cook according to package directions.

add remaining 1/4 cup e.v.o.o. to a large skillet and warm oil. add remaining pine nuts to oil. drain pasta well and add to skillet. add remaining cilantro leaves, cilantro pesto, black & red pepper and stir to combine. taste and add additional seasonings if necessary. serve immediately.

*notes...with the christmas dinner i would not serve this with grated cheese...the squeeze of lime pulls the whole meal together. if serving the pasta on its own, the parmesano reggiano cheese is delicious...in summer i add fresh organic heirloom cherry tomatoes for a light supper...really, really good...

*regarding the prime rib roast...for this meal i prepare using our organic rub and serve without any added "au jus" or other sauce...

merry, merry christmas everyone! whatcha cooking?

best,
diane

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4 comments:

Katie said...

Looks delicious Diane! Merry Christmas and Happy 2010.

easy recipe said...

It look amazing. I'm going to try this recipe with pesto sauce.

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks katie...hope you had a merry christmas!
best,
diane

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks easy recipe...let me know how it turns out....(and btw...cool website...)