Mexican-Style Pesto with Rice or Whole Grain Pasta

TOTAL TIME: 35 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: 10 min
Cook: 15 min
YIELD: 4 servings


  • About 1/3 cup Parmigiano and Herb-Fortified Stock, recipe follows
    • 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/3 palmful
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 pound rice flour, whole grain or whole wheat spaghetti
    • Grated Manchego cheese, for garnish
    • Parmigiano and Herb-Fortified Stock
    • 1 large rind trimmed from a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or a few small pieces rind perhaps saved-up
    • Herb bundle of several sprigs each fresh thyme, parsley and rosemary, tied
    • 1 onion, quartered
    • 2 ribs celery, sliced on angle
    • 2 carrots, sliced on angle
    • Peeled rind of 1 lemon
    • 2 fresh bay leaves
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 12 cups (3 quarts) water
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    Set aside or prepare the stock.

    Char and blister the chile peppers by placing over a burner, an open flame or under a broiler, and turning until black. Place the charred peppers in a small bowl and cover until cool enough to handle. Peel and seed the peppers and add them to a food processor. Meanwhile, lightly toast nuts and add to the processor bowl. Add the cilantro, spicy greens, marjoram, garlic, cumin, lime juice, a splash of stock, salt, and pepper, then pour in about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and pulse the processor to form the pesto sauce. Place in a container, cover, and store in the refrigerator for a make-ahead meal.

    To serve, place the pesto in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Heat a large pot of water to a boil for pasta, salt the water and cook pasta to al dente. Just before draining, add a ladle of starchy cooking water to the pesto, drain the pasta and add the hot pasta to the serving bowl and toss 1 to 2 minutes, serve immediately with grated Manchego on top.

    For the stock:
    Place the cheese rind, herb bundle, onion, celery, carrots, lemon rind, bay leaves, chicken stock, and water into a pot and bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer at least 1 hour, and then remove the rind, herb bundle, and vegetables with a slotted spoon or strainer.

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