Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Pumpkin Seed Pesto

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds: $0.60
1 bunch basil: $1.00
3 ounces Parmesan: $3.00
1 pound pasta: $2.00
3 tomatoes: $2.00

Pantry items: Garlic, salt, peppercorns, olive oil, butter.

Total cost (for 4 portions): $8.60

Because I fell for home cooking at about the same time I fell for a guy with a serious nut allergy, pesto has never been one of my summer staples. Sure, I heard you could leave out the pine nuts or swap in something else, but since I had never been wild for the green sauce anyway I put basil to work in salads and on pizzas instead.

Last week I finally got around to whipping up some pesto with pumpkin seeds, playing the part of pine nuts, and now I am smitten. I've tossed it with cold whole wheat couscous, twice I've stirred it into pasta, and I've eaten it by the spoonful while the baby begged for her fair share.

Since my mortar is far too small to handle these quantities, I am happily using a food processor. This recipe will generously coat a pound of fettucine or spaghetti; I like to add a tablespoon or two of butter and a half cup of the pasta cooking water while I toss everything together. With plain sliced tomatoes, pasta with pesto becomes a simple but filling celebration of summer, even for those among us who are never without epi-pens.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

-enough for 1 pound pasta-
Adapted from Chez Panisse Pizza, Pasta, and Calzone

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