My husband actually got home from work before I left for rehearsal tonight! Of course, I hadn’t planned to make us both dinner. I suggested a garlicky pasta we had tried a few months ago which he had liked for which we had all the ingredients. I thought.
New rule: Always check to see if your spouse has been snacking on your pantry items (like almonds) before starting a recipe. Sigh. I scraped by, but you will note the lack of toasted almonds on top of the pasta. My basil isn’t big enough to harvest yet, so I just used mint.
Last time I used blender; this time I used my food processor. While the food processor is easier to clean, I think the blender made a smoother sauce, so that is my recommendation. The recipe serves 6, so I make half and can still save one serving for lunch the next day!
The garlic is flavorful but not overwhelming. The pureed almonds and pasta water give the sauce a nice creaminess without any cream. You could add zucchini or asparagus, I’m sure, but it’s nice as-is just with the bright green peas.
Pasta in Garlic-Almond Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet April 2009
- 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds (4 oz)
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 lb cavatappi or other small tubular pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 (10-oz) package frozen peas
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus additional for serving
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup basil leaves (torn if large), divided
- 1/3 cup mint leaves (torn if large), divided
- 1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds (2 oz)
– PurÃ©e blanched almonds, garlic, water, and 1/4 tsp salt in a blender until smooth.
– Cook pasta in boiling salted water (3 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until almost tender. Drain pasta, reserving 3 cups of pasta water.
– While pasta is cooking, heat oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Add almond purÃ©e and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups reserved cooking water, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and simmer, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp butter until melted. Add pasta and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente (sauce will be thin), 2 to 3 minutes. Add cheese and lemon juice and stir until combined well.
– Remove from heat and stir in half of basil and mint and salt and pepper to taste. Serve pasta in bowls topped with chopped almonds, remaining herbs, and additional cheese.