Friday, June 23, 2006

Fettuccine with Watercress Pesto & Stilton

I love basil pesto and this summer I want to explore pesto made with other herbs. My problem with pesto is that it's so high in fat. I usually leave out the Parmesan cheese in my basil pesto and use as little olive oil as possible.

The watercress pesto recipes I looked at called for mayonnaise in addition to walnuts and walnut oil. This really didn't appeal, so I used Dijon mustard to add some creaminess. I thought it tasted great, especially topped with a little Stilton, and was chatting away when I realized hubby had stopped eating. It wasn't the taste he didn't like, he said, it was just way too dry.

I personally liked the flecky pesto with the contrasting creamy Stilton, but it's not for everyone. Happily, the dryness is easily corrected by adding more olive oil.

Watercress Pesto:

1 clove garlic
pinch of salt
1 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp walnut pieces
1 bunch watercress leaves, chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

In a mini-prep, puree the garlic and salt. Add the walnut oil and walnuts and puree, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the remaining ingredients and process until creamy.

Mix with drained fettuccine and top with crumbled Stilton.


Blogger Alanna said...

You're as stingy as me with the oil! My market's been getting watercress regularly these days ... this'd be an easy supper. PS The pimenton on your zucchini boats was a worthy inspiration, just thought I'd mention that!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi AK,

It was an easy supper. I love the pimento idea! I'm really into zucchini this year!

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

try substituting stock for some of the olive oil. if the garlic and herbs are pungent, you won't miss the oil.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

anon - that's a good suggestion, thanks.

4:38 PM  
Blogger t. said...

Interesting! Never thought of watercress for pesto before! I m thrilled at seeing all this variety in pesto around food blogs!
I am currently in Italy and locals are truly (rightfully) attached to their own tradition and pesto here is basil and pine nuts only.
I must get around to try other recipes!

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Tanna said...

Made my first pesto finally and now can try something new like this!!

3:31 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

Three things that work great to cut the calories in pesto are: Plain Yogurt (drain it for extra creamy), a drained can of pureed white beans or soybeans and silken tofu. Since you eat dairy, I would go with the drained yogurt.. it gives it a GREAT tangy taste.. my kids LOVE it that way. I also don't add any cheese to the pesto.. but serve it at the table. That adds a fresh flavor at the end. Miso is great too in place of cheese. Sometimes I add stock or even water.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Welcome t.! I don't think the basil and pine nut combo can be beat!

tanna - go for it! My next will be cilantro pesto!

melody - I like the yogurt and miso ideas! Thanks for the suggestions.

2:03 PM  

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