WAGON WHEELS WITH ARTICHOKE PESTO
Best of the Best Vol. 11
from the editors of Food & Wine
Giada De Laurentiis
Who says pesto has to contain basil—or pine nuts, for that matter? This pesto is luxurious and a pretty, pale green; it makes an unbelievably sophisticated meal in just a matter of minutes. I would also serve this as an elegant first course for a spring meal of lamb or salmon.
Serves 4 to 6
• 1 pound rotelle (wagon wheel pasta)
• 1 (8-ounce) package of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
• 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, lightly packed
• 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 garlic clove
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2/3s cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a food processor combine the artichokes, parsley, walnuts, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Chop the ingredients fine, stopping the machine a few times to scrape down the sides. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Transfer the artichoke pesto to a large serving bowl and stir in the cheese. Add the warm pasta and toss to combine. If needed, add the reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time to moisten the pasta and create a saucelike consistency. Serve.
Editor's Note: This nutty, fresh-tasting pesto is wonderful spread on sandwiches, or served with pita chips as a Mediterranean-style dip.