Rice Sticks With Walnut and Basil Pesto and Green Beans
Ever since I had a reaction called pine mouth to imported Asian pine nuts, I’ve been wary of using pine nuts unless I know that they’re the Mediterranean variety. And I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find Mediterranean pine nuts, which are larger than the Asian variety (about twice as long). Instead, I use walnuts in this pesto.
- 10 to 12 ounces thin rice sticks
- 1 garlic clove, peeled, green shoot removed
- 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shelled walnuts, the fresher the better (about 1/2 ounce)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino Romano (optional)
- 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and broken into 2-inch lengths
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, place the rice sticks in a large bowl, and cover with hot water. Let sit 20 minutes, until pliable.
2. Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the basil, parsley, walnuts, salt, pepper and olive oil to the food processor, and process until smooth and creamy. Add the cheese(s), and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large pasta bowl.
3. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the green beans. Cook five minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice water and drain. Add the noodles to the water, and boil one minute until tender but still al dente. Add 1/2 cup of the boiling water to the bowl with the pesto, and mix together. Drain the noodles, and toss with the pesto and beans. Serve at once.
Yield: Serves five to six.
Advance preparation: The pesto will hold for several days in the refrigerator. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil, and stir well before serving. The soaked noodles will keep in the refrigerator for three or four days.
Nutritional information per serving (based on five servings): 499 calories; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 3 grams dietary fiber (6 grams if using brown rice noodles); 70 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 9 grams protein