This simple pasta dish is a winner – bright, fresh, lemony pesto with a hazelnut crunch. Pasta with pesto can be a little dry and cloying, but this one is thinned with water for a more sauce-y consistency, (rather than gallons of olive oil, which would taste amazing but take its toll on your arteries!).
Peppery rocket is available all year round in supermarkets, but you could substitute in any seasonal green leaves or fresh herbs - watercress, spinach, kale, basil or parsley or a combination of any of those would work really well too. Rocket is also incredibly easy to grow, and now is the time of year to be thinking about getting hold of some seeds to plant when the weather warms up a bit.
Read the label carefully when choosing your dried tagliatelle – it seems to be the only dried pasta shape which often includes egg, (usually dried pastas are vegan and only fresh varieties contain egg). But most supermarkets will stock at least one vegan version so it is worth checking all the different brands!
And if you want to make a double batch of pesto it will store well in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days - pour olive oil over the surface of the pesto to create an airtight seal which will keep the pesto fresher for longer.
Tagliatelle with Rocket & Hazelnut Pesto
- 250 g dried tagliatelle pasta (check it is vegan)
- 50 g hazelnuts
- 50 g rocket
- 1 tsp garlic purée/ready-chopped garlic
- ½ tsp salt and grinding of black pepper
- juice of 1 lemon
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 50 ml water
- 25g vegan parmesan or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- Fill a large saucepan with boiling water and a generous pinch of salt, then add the tagliatelle. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes until just cooked through.
- Meanwhile heat a small, dry frying pan and toast the hazelnuts until starting to turn golden brown. Discard any papery skins that fall off in the pan. Set aside 6 hazelnuts and 8-10 rocket leaves for garnish.
- Add all the remaining hazelnuts and rocket leaves, plus the garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, water and vegan parmesan (if using) to a blender or food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Add a little more water if required to give it a pourable ‘sauce’ consistency. Taste for seasoning and add a little more salt if necessary.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the saucepan. Pour in the pesto and toss through the pasta until it is fully coated. Divide between two plates, roughly chop the reserved hazelnuts and rocket, and scatter these over the pasta before serving.
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