Pasta is a complex carbohydrate food – low in fat – and so when you plan to feed your kids pasta you want to make the sauce as healthy as can be. So here is a sauce packed with a lot of herbs and nuts. I give you the very green and the very fresh – Pesto!!!!
Basil or Hora-pha (โหระพา) is widely cultivated in Thailand and is very very easy to find and even to grow in your backyard – making it one of the top pasta sauces to have at home. It takes just about 5 minutes (yes 5 minutes!!!) to make this in bulk & can be stored for later use so why buy an expensive ready pack from the supermarket?
The nuttiness in a classic pesto comes from adding pine-nuts however; it is not easy to find good quality & inexpensive pine nuts in Thailand so here’s what you can substitute the pine nuts with – cashew nuts, walnut, pistachio or even pecan.
So if you are ready for yet another healthy & yummy recipe to try for you little one… Let’s get cooking….
Note: This recipe can be served to vegetarians if you just skip the shrimp.
Ingredients for pesto :- (Vegeterian)
• ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 garlic cloves
• 2 cups basil leaves (โหระพา)
• ¼ cup grated parmesan
• ½ cup cashew nuts
Ingredients for the pasta (serves 2) :-
• 2 cups pasta of your choice (I used Penne)
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter
• 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
• Grated parmesan (for topping)
• Salt & Pepper (according to taste)
• 4-5 medium size fresh *shrimp (mince or cut into small pieces for younger children)
Important!! * Devein the shrimp by peeling the shell from it. Use a paring knife to make a shallow slit along the back from the head end to the tail end. With the tip of a knife, remove the black sand vein that runs along the center of the back. Finally, rinse the shrimp under running water to wash off any odor but make sure you dry the shrimp before cooking so that it soaks in the seasoning well.
Recipe for the sauce :-
1. Put all the ingredients of pesto sauce in your food processor. Blend until smooth. ( If it is not a smooth paste add more olive oil)
2. Refrigerate and use within 2 days or freeze it in ice cubes tray (so you can take out to use in small batches) if you intend to keep it longer.
Recipe for the pasta :-
1. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water for about 10minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt butter in a large sauté pan, add garlic to this & cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add shrimp to the pan, season with salt & pepper. Cook till pink.
4. In the same pan, add 1 big spatula of the pesto prepared.
5. Turn the heat to low, add pasta and toss until it is coated with sauce.
6. Serve at once with some grated parmesan topping.