First, do not just toss this recipe aside because it contains the word "anchovy." The anchovy only surfaces as a hint of saltiness in the pesto sauce, allowing the lemon and basil to shine through on the palate. I enjoy the traditional Caesar salad that carries a hint of anchovy in the dressing, and this recipe will produce those same results. It's simple to prepare and an easy way to use up some of that fragrant basil still lingering in the garden. Already an anchovy fan? You're going to love this. If not, this may just be the dish that changes your mind. Complete the meal with a glass of 2012 Axium Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 8 ounces bucatini pasta
  • 4-5 anchovies packed in oil
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 3 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons pecorino romano, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

Combine the next 4 ingredients in a blender and pulse to give a rough chop. Set to blend, and slowly pour the olive oil and lemon juice in to incorporate until you've reached a thick creamy texture, about 20-30 seconds. Add the pecorino romano and freshly ground pepper, and pulse several times to blend.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the pasta to the pan, stirring to coat and heat. Add in 3 tablespoons of the pesto mixture and toss to coat. Stir in the reserved pasta water in small amounts to moisten and help the pesto coat the pasta. Use just enough water to allow the pesto to stick to the noodles. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper and stir.

Plate the pasta, garnishing with a wedge of lemon and fresh basil leaves. Serve with additional crushed red pepper and pecorino romano on the side.

Any leftover pesto can be preserved in the freezer as ice cubes and used again within 1 month.