This pesto was inspired by Sicily’s use of citrus to beautifully balance any herbaceous sauce. The salty, brininess of the olives, the creamy pine nuts, the umami from the anchovies, the sweetness from the golden raisins, the fresh sweetness from the orange zest, all rounded by the parsley, makes for a unique flavor where no individual ingredient screams louder than the other—rather they all sing as one like a harmonic choir. This is such a different take on the typical basil pesto… and such a delicious one!
Serves 2 ridiculously hungry people / 4 people with a normal appetite
1 cup of flat-leaf parsley
1 tbs pine nuts
2 1/2 tbs golden raisins
4 anchovy filets
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 tbs of orange zest
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch red pepper flakes (optional—we like a little kick)
1/4 tsp salt (plus more for pasta water)
1/3 cup olive oil (plus more for pasta water)
1 serving of pasta
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
Make parsley pesto. Combine all ingredients except oil and pasta in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender or mortar and pestle works, as well. Turn the food processor on, and slowly stream in the olive oil. Leave it on for a few minutes to get a nice, smooth consistency. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed. Set aside.
Take pasta dough out of the fridge. Let it come to room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Cut the dough into four equal parts. Roll each part individually. If you’re using a machine (or by hand if you don’t have), start on the biggest setting and continue rolling it out through each setting until the smallest one. It should be thin enough where you can see through it slightly. Cover the dough while you continue to roll out the other pieces of dough so it does not dry out. Using the fettuccine/linguine attachment on your machine, feed the pasta sheets through to cut into noodles. Each noodle should be about 12 inches long. Cut to size if needed. If you do not have the fettuccine/linguine attachment. Dust each pasta sheet with semolina flour. Fold the dough in half, so it is half as long. Fold it again in half in the same direction. Fold it once more, also, in the same direction. Now, with your knife, cut through the pasta dough to whatever thickness you desire. We think a thinner noodle works best for this pesto. Make sure your noodles are cut to size and are no longer than about 12 inches. Dust them again with semolina flour, and place on a floured area to dry for a few minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a generous amount of salt to the water. Salty, pasta water makes for seasoned pasta. When the water comes to a boil, drop the pasta in and cook for 4 minutes, or until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water. Drain pasta.
Add the starchy pasta water to the food processor and blend with the pesto again. When the water and pesto have been fully incorporated, place the pasta in a bowl and combine with enough sauce until the pasta is fully coated. Do not drown the pasta in the sauce. Serve and garnish with a little more of the pesto on top.
**This recipe is mainly about the sauce, and the sauce is super easy to make. On an average weeknight, you could totally substitute the fresh pasta with boxed pasta.
**Tip: Top your pesto pasta with anchovy, garlic, butter breadcrumbs for an amazing texture and more depth of flavor. Melt 2 anchovy filets in a tbs of butter and a tbs of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the anchovies have melted, grate in one clove of garlic. Add the bread crumbs (we use panko for the crunch). Stir until the bread crumbs have browned to a beautiful golden color. THESE ARE KILLER, TRUST US!