Parsley, rather than the traditional basil, makes this pesto a year-round staple. Because the taste of almonds is more delicate than that of the usual pine nuts, we have chopped rather than ground them. Their flavor really comes through when you bite in to a nutty chunk.
In a food processor, puree the garlic and parsley with the salt. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the almonds and pulse to chop.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the spaghetti and toss with 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, the pesto, and the tomatoes. If the sauce seems too thick, add more of the reserved pasta water.
Variations: Spaghetti with Parsley Almond Pesto and Parmesan: Stir 1/4 cup grated Parmesan into the parsley pesto after chopping the almonds.
Spaghetti with Parsley Pine-Nut Pesto: Use 1/3 cup pine nuts in place of the almonds for a more traditional pesto.
What Is Pesto?: Traditional pesto is an uncooked sauce from Genoa made with basil, garlic, olive oil, grated cheese, and pine nuts. More recently pesto, which literally means crushed, is being used as a general term to describe many herb-and-nut purees. Feel free to experiment with different herbs, nuts, and grated cheeses, depending on what you like and can get easily.
Wine Recommendation: With the parsley, olive oil, and almonds, a simple, lively white wine is best. Good examples are a pinot grigio from the Alto Adige and a Vernaccia di San Gimignano from Tuscany.
Quick From Scratch Pasta
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