Rigatoni with Walnut, Parsley, and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
The tiny pieces of rich olive oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes and earthy walnuts make this a satisfyingly thick, knobby pesto that bursts with flavor.

Serves 4-6

1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley

1 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

1 small garlic clove

3 tablespoons olive oil soaked sun-dried tomatoes

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish

1 tablespoon water, or more if needed

1 pound rigatoni

 

1. In a food processor, combine the parsley, walnuts, cheese, and garlic.* Process until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil, then water in a steady stream, and process until smooth. (Add additional water or olive if necessary to achieve desired consistency.) Set aside.

*Note regarding garlic: If you don't prefer the pungency of raw garlic, then heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add garlic, and saute until slightly golden, 2-3 minutes. Then add to food processor.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta. Cook, stirring frequently, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta.

3. Place the pasta in a large warmed serving bowl. Top with pesto, and toss well. Garnish with grated cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.