Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pesto Fettuccine

Fettuccine (means 'little ribbons') is a type of flat pasta which looks like a pile of ribbons. Traditionally, Fettuccine pasta is served with tomato and cream-based sauces. Dried fettuccine pasta is made using durum wheat and is cooked al dente (cooked but not too soft or overdone).

One of the classic italian dishes is Fettuccine Alfredo which is filled with creamy goodness. Since, I wanted something lighter and refreshing, I decided to make a pesto fettuccine. Pesto is a sauce made by pounding the ingredients and is normally made with basil, pine nuts and olive oil with salt and pepper.  I have always wanted to try making pesto but had a bag of Arugula staring at me for over a week. So, I ended up making Arugula pesto and it turned out good as well as flavorful.

Try replacing the classic ingredients in a recipe and give it your own twist for a nice family dinner night.


For Arugula Pesto:

5 oz fresh arugula
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

For the Pasta:

6-8 oz dried fettuccine
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup frozen or canned artichoke hearts
10-12 asparagus spears (cut into bite-size pieces)
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed
Arugula pesto, as desired (I used approx. 3 tbsp pesto)
Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish


For the pesto:

In a blender, add the arugula, almonds, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Grind to a fine paste and set aside. Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For the fettuccine:

Cook the dried fettuccine according to package directions with salt. Drain the fettuccine and reserve some pasta water for later. 

In a pan, melt butter and add minced garlic. Sauté garlic and add asparagus, artichoke hearts and spinach. Sauté the vegetables until almost cooked.

In a large bowl, add the vegetables, fettuccine, pesto and a ladle of the pasta water (keeps it from drying out). Toss them together until the fettuccine is coated well.

Garnish the fettuccine with grated parmesan cheese and serve with crispy garlic bread.

Makes 3 servings.

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