Aunt Suzy says

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Italian Country Table by Lynn Rossetto Kasper.  It’s another no-cook pasta sauce recipe, although not quite as fast and easy as the one we recently posted.  I love cooking with mint and this recipe blends mint and 3 kinds of nuts into a course pesto that is just delicious.  I just peeked into the cookbook before writing this post and saw that the original recipe uses string pasta of some sort (linguine, spaghetti or buccatini).  I recall the first time I made it, I decided that I would use small pasta shapes in the future.  But I would not dissuade anyone from making it with string-style pasta!  As with a lot of these fresh pasta dishes, it goes really well with a flavorful pinot grigio or a dry rose wine.

Margaux says

I just made this dish last night, and it was fantastic!!  I love the nutty flavor of the pesto, and the freshness of the mint!  And super easy, like Suzy says.  I think it would also be good served with some grilled salmon or chicken, especially if you’re feeding more than 4 people.  We had it with a simple green salad, and it was a perfect summer dinner!

The Pesto

1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted

1/2 cup shelled salted pistachio nuts, toasted

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves

1-2 cloves garlic

pinch (or more!) hot red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

Mix the cooled toasted nuts.  Coarsely chop about 1/4 of the nuts and set aside.  Process the remaining nuts, the mint, garlic and red pepper in a food processor to a very coarse meal texture.  Slowly add the olive oil and process until blended and a little smoother.  This will not be as creamy as a classic basil pesto.  NOTE:  I have a mini-Cuisinart and recommend to first chop the nuts before processing with the rest of the ingredients if that is what you will use.  It had a hard time with all those whole nuts!

The No-Cook Sauce and Pasta

1 pound small pasta (fusilli, cavatappi, penne, etc.)

3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered OR 3 1/2 cups seeded and chopped large tomatoes

The mint pesto

The reserved chopped nuts

1/4 cup sliced mint leaves (if large)

Cook the pasta according to directions, reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water after done and then drain the pasta.  Return the pasta to the cooking pot and toss with the pesto, adding enough cooking liquid to make a creamy sauce.  Add a little at a time to make sure it doesn’t go beyond creamy to runny.  Toss with the tomatoes and stir to blend.  Toss in the chopped nuts and mint for garnish.