Oh man, was this baby good. I literally could not stop tasting this straight out of the blender. I have a tendency of doing that with any pesto though. Do you? Gosh, I’m convinced pesto is the food of the gods.
One thing to note, even though the name of this doesn’t have the word ‘anchovy’ in it whatsoever, it’s really what makes this dish special. So you absolutely must add it in here. I’m determined to make any of you anchovy haters a fan within the year. Anchovies are like the ninja super flavor of food, lurking in the background waiting to smack you in the face without you knowing it. And it’s a pleasant smack, I assure you.
I have to thank my grandma for her Peruvian pesto recipe because if it wasn’t for her, I would have never learned the awesomeness that results from cooking your ingredients before actually making the pesto. In her mother of all recipes, she instructs to blanch the spinach and basil before adding to the blender. This not only intensifies the flavor but it also gives you the opportunity to add the cooking liquid into the pesto, reinforcing the spinach and basil combo twofold. I took that knowledge and used it for this recipe– cooking the cauliflower until it was just soft enough and reserving the water to thin out the pesto.
I was so excited about this you guys that I couldn’t wait to blog it, even though I just punched one out yesterday! So, so good. ♥
// Creamy cauliflower and almond pesto + egg noodles
Makes 4 cups pesto, serves about 4 people with noodles
4 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup olive oil
1 fat garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 anchovy filets (the kind packed in olive oil)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup cauliflower water
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup raw, whole almonds
1 teaspoon sea salt
A few grindings fresh black pepper
12 ounces extra wide egg noodles (I love, LOVE the kind from Amish Kitchens; super rich and eggy deliciousness)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped raw cauliflower florets (if you have leftover cauliflower)
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Fresh thyme, for garnish
Olive oil, for drizzling
// Put a pot of water to boil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook until a knife can go through them easily, about 10 minutes. Scoop the cauliflower out of the water and put in a blender. Measure out 1 cup of water the cauliflower cooked in and add to the blender.
In a small saucepan, toss in the olive oil, garlic, shallot, and anchovies. Warm gently over medium heat until the shallots have softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add in the fresh thyme, stir, and let sit for another 5 minutes. Add this to the blender, along with the Parmesan cheese, almonds, salt, and pepper. Blend until creamy.
Boil a pot of your favorite egg noodles. Drain and put back into the same pot. Add the Parmesan cheese and raw cauliflower florets, toss to combine.
Serve cauliflower and almond pesto over egg noodles and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, fresh thyme, and a drizzle of olive oil.