Spicy Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Clams

Spicy Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Clams

This pesto is packed full of flavour. You can substitute mussels or cooked chicken for the clams.

3 cups (750 mL) cilantro, large stems removed
1/2 cup (125 mL) blanched almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 mL) shallot, diced
1 jalapeno pepper or red Thai chili, diced
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon zest
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
5 Tbsp (75 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 lb (350 g) whole grain linguini or fettuccini
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
60 clams, purged and scrubbed
1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine

In food processor, pulse together cilantro, almonds, shallot, jalapeno, lemon zest, and salt. With food processor running, add 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil in a slow, steady stream. If pesto seems a little too thick for your taste, add cold water 1 Tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.

Cook pasta in large saucepan of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain, reserving about
1 cup (250 mL) pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is softened and just starting to brown. Stir in clams, increase heat to medium-high, add wine, cover and cook clams, stirring once, until all have opened, about 3 minutes. Discard any clams that have not opened. Reduce heat to medium, stir in pesto and pasta, and cook until warmed through. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Each serving contains:  473 calories; 23 g protein; 20 g total fat (2.5 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 49 g carbohydrates; 7 g fibre; 253 mg sodium

source: “Pasta, Pronto!“, alive #353, March 2012

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