You might know by now that I’m fond of chillies, and the thing about chilli-fondness is that I need a hit on an almost daily basis. I find it affects other cuisines I cook, too, such as Italian food, and this spaghetti, for example. It’s (very) loosely inspired by a plate of salsa di pistacchi pasta I had in Sicily, but I’ve injected the roaring streets of Bangkok into it by way of a couple of bird’s eye chillies.
Pistachio, chilli and lemon spaghetti
If you’re not as fond of heat as I am, add as much chilli as you’re comfortable with.
Prep 5 min
Cook 12 min
100g fresh basil, leaves picked
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 red bird’s eye chillies
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
80ml olive oil
Put a large pan of water on to boil and add two teaspoons of salt for every litre of water. In the meantime, finely chop the basil, and do the same with the garlic, pistachios and chilli. Run the knife repeatedly over all the chopped ingredients, until they’re very, very fine, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, three tablespoons of lemon juice, the olive oil (if you like, use a little more, to loosen the sauce) and half a teaspoon of salt (or to taste), and mix well.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water for seven minutes (or according to packet instructions), until al dente. Scoop out 100ml or so of the pasta water with a ladle, then drain the pasta. Add the cooked pasta to the pesto bowl, toss to coat thoroughly, adding a little pasta water, if necessary, to loosen the sauce, then serve.