I am a great believer in the power of a pasta dish. Sometimes there is nothing you want more than a simple, comforting bowl of steaming pasta, with a cracking sauce to make the meal sing. With great ingredients, an easy dish doesn’t have to be boring. With pasta, though, it’s natural to fall into the pattern of making the old favourites over and over again. I love spaghetti bolognese and standard pesto pasta as much as the next person (okay, more than the next person), but sometimes you fancy something a bit different. I’ve teamed up with Wild Honey again – they’re a fantastic local independent health food shop here in Oxford – to bring you a new recipe. This spelt spaghetti and red pesto is made using some ingredients from their bountiful shelves.
Why spelt spaghetti? Well, of course, normal spaghetti is delicious. For a step up and a bit of a change, though, spelt spaghetti is an excellent choice. Spelt is an ancient grain, with a delicious, nutty flavour. Spelt pasta tends to sit lighter on the stomach than standard wheat pasta, because it’s wheat free (but not gluten free) and high in fibre, so most people find it easier to digest. All in all, it’s a great option, and it goes wonderfully well with this pesto. You can find it at Wild Honey, along with the walnuts I have used to make the pesto, and lots of other goodies.
This spelt spaghetti and red pesto is the second in my series of recipe collaborations with Wild Honey. If you’d like to see the first recipe, a black quinoa and halloumi salad, head on over here.
Although spelt spaghetti is no more difficult to cook than regular spaghetti, is it pretty easy to overcook it, as it’s softer and smoother than standard wheat. I’d recommend checking early and erring on the side of caution.
This recipe for pesto will make way more than you need for the pasta, but it keeps well in the fridge in a sealed jar or tupperware, and can be used for loads of other things. Try it spread on toast and sprinkled with feta, add more oil to loosen it and use it to dress a salad, dollop it onto roast vegetables for a flavour kick…
You don’t need to be too precious with the pesto quantities: just adjust to your personal taste if you’d prefer less garlic, or more cheese, or whatever takes your fancy. Spelt spaghetti and red pesto is a forgiving dish!
spelt spaghetti (80 – 100g per person, depending on how hungry you are)
1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
½ jar sun-dried peppers in oil
1 generous bunch parsley, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
around 1/2 a block of Parmesan, grated
100g toasted walnut pieces
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
- Bring a large pan of generously salted water to the boil, then cook your spaghetti according to pack instructions.
- While your pasta is cooking, drain your tomatoes and peppers in a sieve over a bowl, keeping the oil. Reserve a handful each of parsley and Parmesan, then pop your tomatoes, peppers, the rest of your parsley, garlic, the rest of your Parmesan, and walnuts in a food process, and blitz to a rough paste. Drizzle in some of the oil from your jars of tomatoes and peppers, and a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil, then blend again until you have your desired consistency. Taste, season, and adjust to your preference.
- When your pasta is cooked al dente, drain it, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water. Put your spelt spaghetti back in its pan with the cooking water, then stir through a couple of generous spoonfuls of the pesto, until everything is well-coated. Serve your pasta topped with your reserved parsley and Parmesan.