Hot on the heels of a New Year, I’ve had a lot to reflect on over the last few weeks. The holidays were spent quietly with my husband and our children, and I must confess that this was probably the sweetest Christmas we’ve ever had as a family. It turns out that unplanned days with the people who fill my heart was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries and start 2018 with clarity, vision and focus. Sometimes, you need to stop before you can start. (I’ll get to that pasta recipe soon!).
Not one for resolutions, I’ve promised myself one thing. Let go of the noise. That includes anything from self-doubt, toxic relationships, as well as feelings of guilt, anxiety, and regret. This year, I’m hitting the ground running with all that inspires me, and so far, it’s one of the best feelings I’ve felt in a long time… Here’s to a New Year of growth, health, and happiness for all of us!
I’ll leave you with a dish that’s on the top of my comfort food list. My Walnut Pesto Pasta recipe that’s been coming in and out of my culinary repertoire for years. It was recently resurrected when I prepared a Parisian inspired picnic for Dubai’s Secret White Party. All the food in my picnic basket needed to be as close to white as possible, and this dish fit the color scheme perfectly (minus the arugula). Feel free to add fat rounds of goat’s cheese to finish your pasta, as I often do, although I had none in my kitchen at the time I photographed this dish. Either way, it’s absolutely delicious and a breeze to prepare. I typically use farfalle since I like the way the walnut pesto coats the bow-tie shape. Penne and fusilli are easy substitutions. If you prefer to make your own pasta, tagliatele works beautifully as well. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Walnut Pesto Pasta Recipe:
Serves 2 main dishes or 4 starters
- 250 grams Farfalle pasta
For the garlic sauce:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- ¼ cup white wine (optional, use water if you don’t want to use alcohol)
- 2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable stock
For the walnut pesto:
- 1 clove garlic
- a fat pinch of salt
- 200 grams walnuts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/half cup of grated Parmigiano Regiano, plus more for sprinkling on the pasta (you can also use parmesan shavings to garnish)
- A handful of Arugula leaves, washed and dried
- Rounds of soft goat’s cheese (optional)
In a large pot of boiling, well-salted water, boil your farfalle according to package instructions. Drain well, and keep about ½ cup of the pasta water for later. Set pasta and water aside.
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium. Add the garlic, and sauté for about one minute or until soft. Keep stirring – your garlic can burn quickly! Add the white wine (or water) and your stock. Increase the temperature to medium high. Let the liquid reduce for about three minutes until you are left with a sauce to coat your pasta. If the pan is too dry, add a little more stock or water. Set aside.
For the pesto, mash the garlic with the salt with a mortar and pestle. Add the walnuts, and start pounding way until the nuts starts to break down. Gently pour in your olive oil and add the parmigiano. Keep pounding until the walnuts reach a crumbly consistency. Remember, what you are after here is texture, the walnuts don’t need to be finely ground.
To serve, combine the pasta and the walnut pesto. Add the garlic sauce.
Give it all a stir, if your pasta is dry, add a bit of liquid from the pasta water. Toss in the arugula. Garnish with more parmesan cheese and goat’s cheese (if using).
Bon appétit my friends!