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Tavolo Pasta with Almond Cilantro Pesto

It is a beautiful sunny day and I am totally committed to inside chores…go figure. We are moving in a few weeks to take on yet another international adventure. With that comes packing and cleaning out the pantry. I am determined to let nothing go to waste during this process. So here it is noon on a Tuesday and leave it to me to make homemade pesto for lunch. I think Rob will appreciate the surprise when he gets home from his half day of work.

I put a little twist on the pesto and used almonds and cilantro instead of the usual basil and pine nuts. We are still working on a huge bag of almonds that I bought around the holidays to attempt to make chocolate covered almonds, but like many of my big ideas, they get lost unless I write it down and post it in a visible location. So I am remembering now in the middle of June about the chocolate covered almonds I wanted to make for Christmas- oh well! Since I do not have any ingredients to make the chocolate, I will pass for now. So almond, cilantro pesto it will be.

While I was at the market this past weekend, I picked up a bag of homemade pasta from Tavolo’s in Belleville. I could not resist the cute smile of their daughter who I teach occasionally at the daycare. I have heard lots of people rave about the pasta so I think it will go perfectly with the pesto. Pretty much everything else in the dish is sourced locally, asparagus from Jack and Betty, bacon from Hanover Farms, garlic from Railway Creek, parmesan from Silano’s, hydroponic tomatoes from Vader’s and blue cheese crumbles from a place in Quebec- ok so that is not very local, but still closer than Australia or some other exotic corner of the world where lots of our food comes from these days.

This sounds too good to eat without wine, so I uncork a bottle of our homemade red wine to go along with it. It may not be five o’clock in Belleville, but as Jimmy Buffet says, “It’s five o-clock somewhere.”

Almond Pesto
Makes 1 cup
Recipe Created by Me

1 cup or so of almonds
1 bunch of cilantro
6-8 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup or so of parmesean
Sea salt/ freshly cracked pepper
Red pepper flakes for a kick
Olive oil


Pulse almonds in the food processor until they are crumbs. Add everything except the oil and pulse until a paste forms. Slowly add the oil while pulsing. I add enough oil for all of the ingredients to stick together, because when I add it to the hot oil it will spread out on the pasta. But I have seen pesto made with more oil so that it is almost more of a liquid. This is totally up to your liking. Toss pesto with hot pasta.
(Note: When I wrote out the recipe for this, it is just an approximation because I just throw stuff into the food processor and taste as I go along, so you may need to adjust to your liking.)
I added chopped tomatoes, roasted asparagus spears, bacon, and blue cheese crumbles to our pasta, but the pesto would be good without any additions too.

I did have leftovers of the pesto because you only need a little pesto to flavour pasta, so this is what we did. Since we spent the last weekend at my in laws dog sitting, we decided we did not want to cook any meals in the house because the weather was too nice. So below is a recipe for asparagus cooked on the fire pit. It was so delicious and only required 2 ingredients!

Barbequed Pesto Asparagus


Directions: Make a foil pouch and add asparagus and some pesto. Tightly wrap up the asparagus and place directly on the grate on the fire pit. Check on it after about 10 minutes, rotate and cook until it is nice and grilled.