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Creamy Pesto Pasta

March 1, 2009

Pesto Pasta Salad

To me basil has the scent and flavor of summer; however, it is readily available year round. So on a grey, rainy day, I decided to use some of the beautiful basil that I’d recently purchased to create a creamy pesto to help brighten up the day.

Although pesto traditionally calls for pine nuts and parmessan cheese, I substituted walnuts for the pine nuts because I love the richness that walnuts contribute to the pesto. I also chose to omit the parmessan cheese in order to focus on the fresh basil-y flavor.

Ingredients
1 c loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 c olive oil
1/3 c walnut pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 c cream
1/3 c whole milk ricotta
2 t lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
corkscrew pasta (~1/2 lb)
1/2 c kalamata and green olives, sliced

Combine basil, walnut, and garlic in food processor and process until smooth, adding olive oil as necessary. Add cream and ricotta and blend. Finish it off with the 2 t lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to its instructions.

When pasta is cooked, drain and mix with the pesto cream sauce and mix in the sliced olives.

This can be served right away or refrigerated and served cold.

It makes an easy, portable lunch to take to school or work.

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