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Make this: Frugal fennel-frond pesto pasta

Pesto pasta, but make it fancy — and low waste. The student staple gets a makeover with pesto made of fennel fronds that would otherwise get thrown out.

Recipe: Fennel-frond pesto pasta

Serves 3

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes

From Anne-Marie Bonneau, who started out with a blog of the same name, The Zero-Waste Chef is true to its title, with plant-forward recipes and tips on how to have a more sustainable kitchen.

Bonneau is on a mission to inspire the maximum number of people to start thinking and living even a little more sustainably, as this is truly what will make an impact. Here, she shares her recipe for a simple pesto pasta made using fennel fronds that would usually get chucked out.

Ingredients

Pesto

  • ¼ cup raw nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup packed fennel fronds
  • ½ cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Pasta

  • 2 ½ cups durum semolina
  • ¾ cup hot, not boiling, water
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

Pesto

  1. To make the pesto: Toast the raw nuts in the oven at 350 F for 5 minutes and stir. Toast for another 3 to 5 minutes, until fragrant but not dark.
  2. Place the toasted nuts, garlic, fennel fronds, parsley and salt in a food processor. Pulse to make a paste. Scrape down the sides of the food processor if necessary.
  3. With the processor running, stream in the oil in a slow trickle, until the pesto is well blended. Transfer to a large serving bowl. If not using immediately, refrigerate or freeze in a wide jar.

Pasta

  1. To make the pasta: Place the semolina in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the hot water. (Alternatively, you can make this directly on your work surface. For a beginner, you may prefer to use a bowl.)
  2. With a fork, incorporate the flour from the edges of the well into the water. Continue until you’ve combined all the flour and water and have formed a crumbly dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. The bowl will likely contain enough unincorporated flour that you won’t need more on your work surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. It should spring back after you make an indentation in it with your thumb. If it doesn’t spring back, keep kneading it. This can take about 10 minutes.
  4. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal portions; smaller portions are easier to work with. Lightly dust the work surface with semolina, if necessary, as you roll out each piece of the dough to about ⅛-inch thick.
  6. Dust the dough with semolina. Roll each piece of the dough up into a very loose tube. You will be slicing noodles from these tubes, so you don’t want it too tightly wound and stuck together. Cut ¼-inch-wide noodles from each roll.
  7. Add the salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  8. Add the noodles and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.
  9. Reserve at least ⅓ cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  10. Whisk the saved pasta cooking water into the bowl with the pesto. Blend and toss the pasta in the pesto and serve.
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