Friday, February 23, 2007

Rigatoni with Caper and Almond "Pesto"

I know, I know. Another pasta recipe from On Top of Spaghetti. But they are all just so simple and fun to make that I can't help myself. For the Rigatoni with Caper and Almond "Pesto" I didn't even have to cut anything up. Just throw a bunch of things in the blender to make the pesto while the water was boiling for the pasta. Perfect for a Friday night after a long work week.

Even though the recipe is very simple, I somehow messed it all up. The first problem was that I had a hard time finding the capers. This recipe calls for salted capers and I could only find regular capers. I soaked them anyways.

Then, I screwed up and only added 1/4 cup of capers instead of 3/4 cups as the recipe calls for. Of course I didn't even notice that until now. Proof I'm at that point where I need to get glasses.

My mint leaves were very tiny and I was not sure what size mint leaves are supposed to be. So even thought the recipe calls for 6 to 8, I'm not sure I added the correct amount. I would have liked more mint in the pesto. Especially since I chose mint to be my herb of choice for Weekend Herb Blogging.

Look for the roundup of Weekend Herb Blogging at Anna's Cool Finds who is hosting this week.

But even with my screw ups I am happy I tried this recipe. Many people probably won't try this it because it has anchovies in it. On top of that it has capers which many people also don't like. I didn't even taste any anchovies. They got pureed and mixed in with all sorts of flavors.

While I'm glad I made this recipe I probably will not make it again. Only because I am not a big fan of any kind of pesto. I prefer a tomato or cheese based sauce with my pasta. But that's why I like this book so much, it gives me ideas to change it up now and then.

Rigatoni with Caper and Almond "Pesto"
(serves 4 to 6)

1/4 salted capers, soaked for 15 to 20 minutes in cold water
6 anchovy fillets
1 1/2 ounces (1 cup) ground blanched almonds
2 tablespoons fin unflavored bread crumbs
1 plump garlic clove, peeled and trimmed
6 to 8 large fresh mint leaves
3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound dried rigatoni

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Drain the capers and dry on paper towels.

Combine all the ingredients except the pasta in a blender jar. Blend until you obtain a chunky puree. Set aside. (You may cover and refrigerate the pesto for a day or two. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before you cook the rigatoni.)

Salt the boiling water and drop in the pasta. Cook, stirring often, until al dente. Drain the rigatoni reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta to a heated serving bowl. Toss with enough pesto to coat the rigatoni. Add a little pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, if the sauce seem too thick. Server right away, passing any remaining sauce at the table.


Kalyn said...

I think this sounds like a great cookbook. I'll have to put it on my (ever-expanding) cookbook wish list. As far as the recipe, I love capers, I love anchovies, and I have mint and parsley in my garden, so this is probably a keeper for me. Saved to! (I'd probably leave out the breadcrumbs and use Dreamfields penne.)

Anna Haight said...

Mint is a favorite of mine, but pesto isn't just like you. But I like trying new things, at least once, so this one goes on my list! Thanks for participating in WHB!

Susan said...

How could you help yourself? Mmmm salty capers and fresh mint sound like a fantastic combination. The photo looks delicious!

Kristen said...

Your photo is mouth watering... makes me hungry and I just ate!

Chris said...

What a great combo of flavors! Yum!

Katerina said...

Love, love, love the idea of capers in pesto. I agree with you that saucier is better and pesto isn't very saucy - but why not add some cream or tomato sauce to your pesto? Just long enough to heat it through.

joey said...

This sounds like my kind of pasta...I love pesto and oil based pastas best :) This looks delicious!

This is the 2nd time I have come across that book in a blog...Am getting curiouser and curiouser! :)

Helene said...

I love capers, and anchovies, and most of all mint, mint, mint. It´s a yummy quick dish. Thanks. :)