Never Just One Version

Walnut Sage Pesto Pasta-Duo Dishes

Just like homemade salad dressings, pesto has a million variations. We like to experiment with flavors based on what’s available at the time, and we always keep it fairly simple–nuts, a hard cheese, herbs, citrus and garlic. Pesto. At least, that’s how we do it. There’s no reason to stick with tradition when you can come up with fun twists on the original. There are a lot of good premade pestos on the market, and we’ve definitely made use of them. This time, it was worth the effort to make it. Actually, it’s always worth the effort if you have the ingredients on hand. Give it a go just one time, and you’ll see how easy and delicious it can be.

One of the favorite pestos we’ve made included mint and parsley. It was bright, light and fresh.  Really nice for the spring or summer. This pesto is deeper, with earthy undertones from the sage and walnuts rolled together with nutty browned butter.  It is an easy fix for these chilly winter nights. And a pesto doesn’t have to drape pasta at the end of the day. You could drop a bit over chicken or fish, toss it in a grilled vegetable salad, mix it into couscous or spread it over crostini. The variations are endless and so are the applications.

Walnut and Sage Pesto Brown Butter Pasta – Serves 4
1/2 pound rigatoni, cooked
1/2 bunch fresh sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 ounces fresh parmesan
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Dash allspice
Kosher salt

1. Put garlic, walnuts and parmesan into a food processor and blend until crumbly. Add sage, lemon juice and a dash of allspice. Blend until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil until smooth, then salt to taste and set aside.

2. Drop butter into a large, deep pan over medium high heat and swirl until melted. Cook until brown, bubbly and butter emits a slightly nutty scent, approximately 3-5 minutes.

3. Add pasta and toss or stir until coated. Scrape pesto into the pan with the pasta and toss to coat. Cook until heated through, approximately 2-4 minutes. Salt to taste.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


29 thoughts on “Never Just One Version

  1. Oooh – I am LOVING the sounds of this – so simply yet elegant and gourmet. Nice one Duo!

  2. Yes, you can freeze pesto. Plop it into ice cube trays, freeze it, then dump the cubes in a plastic baggie or airtight container. You can defrost as necessary!

  3. Sage and walnuts? Wow, what a combo. Just add some winter squash in there, and the combo would be complete, me thinks! Haha, at least, in my opinion, since I think winter squash completes just about anything.

  4. Pesto in a jar with a pkg of organic pasta makes a wonderful Christmas gift (as mentioned so ably in my latest post!!) hahaha
    Good one guys!

  5. I love doing different variations of pesto. It tends to be one of those constantly changing recipes in my house based on whatever I have on hand.

  6. Ohh this sounds wonderful! I just read something today about incorporating allspice into savory eats. Looks like a very lovely application here!

    P.S. So good to see you guys on Sat!

  7. My husband hates pine nuts (for no other reason then his mom went through a pine nut phase when he was in high school and sprinkled it on everything), so a walnut pesto is absolutely what I need.
    With some sage and brown butter pasta – yah, basically just died and went to heaven.

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