Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pasta with Cilantro, Jalapeno & Pinenuts

I had a version of this dish years ago at a wonderful restaurant in Pasadena, California...the Parkway Grill. They prepared it by adding cilantro leaves, toasted pine nuts and excellent extra virgin olive oil to homemade 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 cilantro pesto to the above ingredients and jalapeno for some heat. Very easy, very fast of all...uses every bit of the cilantro bunch. No waste.

I have the last bit of cilantro growing in the garden, and because freezing temperatures are predicted for the lows this weekend, I am making a massive vat of the cilantro pesto. Some to freeze and the rest for this pasta dish. Perfect for a Light Halloween supper before we go out and watch all the adorable trick-or-treaters begging for candy in the Plaza.  Happy Halloween everyone! (Oh, btw, after 31 years the Parkway Grill is still going strong. I checked the menu this morning. No Cilantro Pasta but everything looks amazing. Definitely on my list for the next time I am in Southern California)

Pasta with Cilantro, Jalapeno & Pinenuts
(serves 4)

1 bunch organic cilantro (or from your garden)
1 garlic clove
1 tsp seeded jalapeno, minced
1/2 pine nuts, toasted in dry skillet
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
grey or sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
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
a squeeze of fresh lime 
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Chop the stems off the cilantro and separate from the leaves. Cut off the very bottom tips of the stems ( the 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, garlic clove, jalapeno and 1/4 cup of the pine nuts. Pulse until finely chopped. Divide the olive oil 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 or sea salt. Set aside.

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

Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil 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 pepper and stir to combine. Taste and add additional seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately.

*notes, in summer I add fresh organic heirloom cherry tomatoes to the pasta dish. Really, really good.

It is Halloween week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite Halloween recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

The Hungry Traveler: Halloween Spiderweb Brownies
6 Halloween Movie and Food Pairings for a Spooktacular Party
Creative Culinary: 
The Black Goblin – Tequila, Coffee Liqueur and Cream
Pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead Bread)
Domesticate Me: 
Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treat Bites
Elephants and the Coconut Trees:
 Pumpkin Brain Pasta Halloween Special
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Curried Pumpkin & Apple Chowder
Red or Green: 
Pasta with Cilantro, Jalapeno & Pinenuts
Swing Eats: 
Trick or Treat, Spaghetti or Squash? Both!
Feed Me Phoebe: 
Blood Orange White Sangria with Pomegranate
Taste with the Eyes: 
Pumpkin Risotto Stuffed with Burrata, Fried Sage
Healthy Eats: 
5 Ways to Host a Healthier Halloween Party
Deviled Egg Spiders


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.


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