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Sriracha Pesto

2 May

This dish, found in The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens, is a delightful fresh twist on a classic pesto.  The heat from the sriracha is just pronounced enough to leave a pleasant warmth lingering on the palate.  It balances well with the fresh, herbaceous flavors of the basil, spinach and mixed spring greens and is cooled down significantly by fattiness from the nuts and cheese.  The light garlic flavor was really nice as well.  This pesto would also make a really delicious dip or sandwich spread, but I loved it on the rotini because it clung really well to the pasta.

Sriracha Pesto

Adapted from The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens

1 box rotini pasta, cooked al dente according to package instructions, about 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved

3/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup pine nuts

3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves

3/4 cup packed mixed organic spring greens (including baby romaine, chard, mizuna, arugula, mâche, frisée, radicchio, etc.)

3/4 oz. fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup sriracha

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In food processor, combine walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese and pulse 20-25 times in one second bursts until mixture is an even consistency.  Add spinach, mixed spring greens, basil, and sriracha.  Process 40-50 times in one second bursts until a coarse paste forms.  If necessary, scrape down sides of bowl so a uniform consistency is achieved.  With processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until a paste is formed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste (I did not add any salt since sriracha has boatloads already contained).

Drain cooked pasta.  Return to pot with sriracha and reserved cooking liquid and toss to combine until heated through.

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