Added by Mango Ginger | Sun 29 Jan 2012 @ 12:38
Thailand meets Italy in the latest Asian Fusion recipe from Mango Ginger: www.mango-ginger.blogspot.com
The basil from the Italian pesto recipe is replaced with lemongrass and coriander. I have replaced pine nuts with cashews because they are the creamiest nut I can think of, and are easily found in Thailand. Incidentally Jamie Oliver, whom I trust on all matters pasta-related, says it’s important to only toast the nuts in pesto briefly because they should give a creamy rather than nutty flavour.
This is a simple but oh so tasty dish packed with clean and unusual flavours.
For the pesto:
4 lemongrass stalks (just the white part)
1 clove garlic
1 inch knob ginger
1 bunch coriander leaves and stalks (about 60g)
Juice of 2 limes
80g cashew nuts, very lightly toasted
4 tbsp olive oil
˝ tsp salt
˝ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta:
400g dried linguine
250g raw large unpeeled prawns/about 200g peeled – about six per person
1 bunch asparagus
Sprig coriander to garnish
2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1. First make your pesto. Start by finely chopping then grinding the lemongrass either in a food processor or a mortar and pestle. Make sure the lemongrass is very finely minced otherwise it will give your dish an unpleasant fibrous texture. Then add the garlic and ginger and continue pounding/grinding til smooth. Next in a food processor grind the cashews until they are a fine powder with no lumps. Remove from the food processor.
2. Chop the coriander, stalks and all, and put in a food processor along with your ground lemongrass, garlic and ginger. Add the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a smooth paste.
3. Add the ground cashews to the mixture and blend again. You should now have a smooth pale green paste. If the pesto is too thick it will be hard to coat the pasta so thin out with a little water (2-3 tbsp) until you’re happy with the texture.
4. Taste your pesto and adjust the flavour and texture according to your taste by adding more salt, pepper, oil, or lime juice.
5. Next, prepare the remaining ingredients. Peel and de-vein the prawns. Very finely slice the garlic. Trim off the woody part of the asparagus – the bottom inch or so and chop the spears into pieces about an inch long.
6. Next, cook you pasta according to packet instructions until al dente.
7. When your pasta is a few minutes away from being done, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan on a medium heat, and add the garlic and chilli flakes and fry for a couple of minutes.
8. Add the asparagus and stir for about two minutes until it softens. Then add the prawns and season generously with fresh black pepper and a salt. Allow to sizzle for a further 2 - 3 minutes, stirring frequently until the prawns are done. They should just turn pink and firm – don’t overcook as they’ll turn rubbery.
9. Drain your pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Quickly, while it is still hot add the pesto and stir well. It is up to you how much pesto you want to add – you’ll probably have some left over which you can freeze. Add the pesto gradually, evenly coating the pasta until you’re happy it’s the right amount. Then add the prawns and asparagus and stir again.
10. Garnish with a sprig of coriander and serve.
Time: 1 hour
Rating: Easy – just a little patience required for the pesto
Serves: 4 people
Cooking ahead? The pesto will keep for a couple of days in the fridge in a sealed container. Pesto also freezes really well so make this in advance and pour into an ice tray, and once frozen transfer the ice-cubes into a plastic bag.