The key ingredients are fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. However pine nuts have always been scarce in Vietnam and are 10 times more expensive than walnuts, cashew nuts or almonds.
So in this recipe I will be using good quality walnuts instead of pine nuts. The textures are the same but there is a subtle taste difference. Despite the change in ingredients, this pesto sauce remains full of bold flavours and tastes like summer on a plate. The best thing about it is you can spread it over your toast, turkey or Panini, as well as serve it up with anything from mushrooms and prawns to chicken. You can even use it as just a dip.
— 4 tbsp olive oil,
— 8 walnut kernels
— ½ cup basil leaves
— 5 cloves of garlic
— 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
— salt and crushed black pepper to taste
— 300g spaghetti or any other type of pasta — type
— ½ tsp salt
— 1 tsp olive oil
— 3-4 prawns deveined
Add the walnut kernels, basil leaves, crushed black pepper, garlic and olive oil to a blender and blend into a coarsely ground paste.
Next add Parmesan cheese, salt and mix in well. The pesto sauce is now ready to be tossed with pasta.
Cooking the Pasta
Fill a large, tall pot with water and place over a high heat. When the water begins to boil, add salt to it.
Add pasta to the water and stir frequently for the first two minutes, then occasionally until the end of the cooking process. Before turning off the flame, taste it to see if it is cooked to your liking. If the pasta is al dente, you should feel a slight resistance when you bite into it or cut it with a fork.
Take a non-stick pan and heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Next add the prawns and toss for 2 minutes until pink.
Add the boiled pasta into the pan directly from the boiled water using kitchen tongs. Allow a few drops of water in as well — this will keep pasta moist .
Then add the pesto sauce and toss well with the pasta on a medium slow flame. After mixing it well, turn off the flame.