(cheerful music) - Hi, I'm Jacques Pépin.
And this is "American Masters at Home".
(cheerful music continues) I wanna show you how to make spaghetti and pesto.
For summer, I have plenty of basil in my garden.
This can be an expensive dish if you have to buy the basil, of course, and it can be very free, like for me, because during the the summer I have all those herbs in the garden.
So I have a lot of boiling water here and I'm only doing half a pound.
Spread out your pasta a little bit so it gets soft.
Let it fall in it.
And the timing of the pasta is entirely up to you.
For me, I like it a bit firm, but usually cooked.
So it's gonna boil at least for 10, 12 minutes, we'll check.
So here, I'm getting my basil and of course I'm not taking the flowers here.
If you have a little bit of the stem it's okay, you know.
Here it is.
Okay, I have probably four or five cups of basil, kind of a loosely packed if you want, like this.
Just to give you an idea.
What I wanna do then is to blanch this.
What I will do, I will put it directly into something like this and put it into my pasta water.
Just basically coming back to a boil.
It go to nothing.
With this, I'm gonna do a puree of that into the blender.
See that's enough.
That's enough here.
You gotta cool that off here now.
I have some water and ice here.
Okay, to cool it off.
And that's it.
So as you see, my five cups of thing are down to not too much.
Press it a little bit, that I will put into the blender here.
A good dash of salt there, that will keep it green.
And a little bit of oil not enough oil to do like a pesto but a couple of tablespoons.
See the first part of one recipe that I wanna show you.
(blender running) And I can always put a little bit of water in it.
Even that water.
(blender running) So here I have a beautiful green puree of basil.
And what I do very often.
See, I take a little bit of this.
Couple of tablespoons here.
I fold it like this and put that in the freezer which is what I have here.
As you can see.
Those and this again, a couple of those I put a quart of olive oil in there and I have flavored olive oil with basil.
I'll put that in this one also.
Or then I do it in soup or in salad or in pasta or in rice.
So, you know, I use that during the winter.
And of course at that time, the basil is very expensive.
But here I have what I have left to do my pesto.
I'm going to put about half of a jalapeno in there.
And if I use the jalapeno, you know, the first thing that I do, I taste it.
Sometimes it's really very hot and sometimes pretty mild.
So you adjust yourself.
I have a third of a cup of nuts here.
The classic is pine nuts, pretty expensive too.
But you can use hazelnut, walnut, whatever.
Here, I'm using pumpkin seed.
I have them in my freezer.
So, but you know, when you use any type of nut I will tell you, taste it.
Because you keep them ahead and they get rancid sometimes, and it ruins the whole dish.
So those are good.
Have that in there.
Couple of tablespoons of, about three tablespoons of parmesan cheese.
I'm going to put a little more olive oil for that.
And this will be the base of my pesto.
(blender running) And you could do that ahead, you know.
Do ahead to have your pesto ready to toss with your pasta.
I'm going to have it here, a beautiful, bright, green color.
Make sure that you clean up that good.
And I use a little bit of the pasta water in there.
Probably half a cup.
I can take it directly from here and use it to clean up my- Okay.
Because when the pasta is cooked, I put it in there in a few minutes and that water will be absorbed.
So here is my pesto that I can do ahead.
A beautiful green color, as you can see.
Let me taste it.
You know, when they call a pasta very al dente, it's too small to show you but if you cut the pasta your spaghetti it in half like this, you can see in the center of the pasta, a tiny, tiny, white dot.
That white dot is uncooked pasta dough.
And that's often the way it is in Italy.
Really al dente like that.
I like it a little more cooked myself.
I'm gonna drain it out.
Remember usually I take some of the water of the pasta but I already put it in there.
Okay, I have my pasta right here.
Boiling hot that I put here.
And now I said, if you leave it a couple of minutes which I do usually, then that mixture will be absorbed and I have a beautiful green color here.
As you can see, half a pound of pasta, probably a little too much for two.
Three people maybe.
A little dash of salt, maybe another little dash of oil on top.
And that's it.
Of course I already make a mess out of it.
Okay, a beautiful portion of pasta here.
Probably a little more parmesan cheese on top.
And this is it.
Spaghetti and pesto right from my garden.