This recipe is a variation of the classic pesto and pasta combination and was taken from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals book. I was intially put off by the almonds listed in the ingredients but I couldn't really taste them and they add a pleasing grainy texture to the sauce.
The basil, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and anchovies create a strong, robust flavour for the rigatoni and the entire dish can be prepared in 20 minutes. The sauce took a bit longer for me as I have a blender rather than a food processor but I had plenty of time to make it while the pasta cooked. I also had time to heat a ciabatta and griddle some chicory to accompany the dish.
Four anchovy fillets is the perfect amount for the sauce but if you aren't a fan then add a couple or omit them altogether. My preference would to be add six or so as I love the saltiness but they aren't to everyone's taste.
As this dish was cooked for two, I made the full amount of sauce and ended up storing half of it in the fridge to use at a later date.
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
- While the pasta is cooking, place the Parmesan, almonds, garlic and chillies into a food processor or blender. Process for a minute to combine the ingredients.
- Add around two thirds of the tomatoes to the food processor along with the anchovies, one and a half handfuls of basil and a little olive oil. Process until the ingredients turn into a paste.
- Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper.
- Reserve some of the water the pasta has cooked in then drain the pasta and return it to the saucepan. Stir in the paste until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Add a little of the reserved water to loosen the pasta if necessary.
- Transfer to bowls and top with the remaining cherry tomatoes (halved) and basil leaves.