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Spaghetti with Pesto Cashews and Asiago

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The combination of basil pesto, cashew nuts, and Asiago cheese enhances simple spaghetti with unforgettable flavours and interesting textures. Served with a green salad and cherry tomatoes, this pasta dish provides a nutritious meal that satisfies even the largest appetite.

The combination of basil pesto, cashew nuts, and Asiago cheese enhances simple spaghetti with unforgettable flavours and interesting textures. Served with a green salad and cherry tomatoes, this pasta dish provides a nutritious meal that satisfies even the largest appetite.

14 oz (400 g) whole-wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup (60 ml) raw cashews
Asiago cheese, freshly shaved
Fresh basil, for garnish

Pesto:
1/2 cup (125 ml) pine nuts
3 lbs (1.5 kg) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup (60 ml) garlic, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) sea salt or vegetable salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) Parmesan cheese, grated

For pesto, heat a cast-iron frying pan and gently warm pine nuts to intensify flavour. Thoroughly wash and dry basil. Reserving some for garnish, place basil in food processor with garlic and pine nuts. Blend and slowly add oil to form a thick creamy sauce. Add seasoning and blend again. Stir in Parmesan (do not blend).

Warm cashews on low heat to intensify flavour. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, rinse, and toss immediately with 1/2 cup (125 ml) pesto and cashews.

Place pasta on plates and sprinkle with Asiago. Garnish with fresh basil.

Variations: Try arugula, parsley, thyme, bell pepper, or sun-dried tomato pesto sauce. Pesto keeps in the refrigerator about one week or in the freezer up to one month. Serves six.

Source: alive #255, January 2004

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