Every Monday I post a new recipe to the Honest Project and I was tempted to leave cooking and photographing this week's recipe until today, but as luck would have it I decided to make this for my lunch on Saturday before hitting the road to Dublin. Lucky because today the electricity is turned off in our area so that means no light, no wifi and even though we have a gas cooker, cooking at home today is just too much work. So this morning, post dog walk, I grabbed my laptop and memory card and took myself off to a hotel in Kilkenny to do my client work and write up today's blog post.

Now as it happens, the electricity doesn't have to go for me to do this, sometimes it's just the thing to plough through work free from distractions at home. And there's great Wifi here and the coffee is pretty good too. Working from home is great, but somethings you just need a change of scenery.

This recipe is for Basil Pesto Spaghetti with Goat's Cheese. This December, I'm posting recipes that I'm eating myself and enjoying. So that means they might not necessarily be festive themed or packed full of the typical Christmas ingredients. I'm not the biggest fan of festive food. I've felt this way for a while, but kind of ignored it and tried to convince myself to go 'all in' on the festive food front. Now let me tell you that I don't really care about what I eat at Christmas. I love food, but I also work with food, so really by the time Christmas comes, I just want something that's hassle free and tasty. As a vegetarian, the usual turkey and ham and seafood feasting that happens this time of year is out for me. Festive vegetables are what's in season anyway and I eat these as usual. I guess the one food that I go all out on at Christmas is cheese. But as far as lunches and dinners go, it's pretty much business as usual and that's why I'm posting today's recipe.... this really simple to make Basil Pesto Spaghetti with Goat's Cheese. This version is made without parmesan, but it can be added in if you wish. Also, if you don't fancy making your own pesto, just buy a ready made version in the store. There are some really great brands out there now, so you have really good quality ones to choose from. Using pre-made pesto makes this dish even easier to whip together at home, meaning more time for Christmas partying / movie watching / or whatever else you are up to.

Hope you have a good Monday and here's this week's Honest Project recipe.... Basil Pesto Spaghetti with Goat's Cheese x

Basil Pesto Spaghetti with Goat's Cheese

(serves 4)


300g fresh spaghetti

50g fresh basil leaves

50g pine nuts

1 lemon, juice

2 garlic cloves, chopped

60 ml extra virgin olive oil

50g soft goat's cheese

Chilli flakes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Toast the pine nuts in a medium heated oven for seven minutes. Remove and add half of them to a food processor along with the basil and garlic. Pulse until coarsley chopped. Add the oil through the top vent of the processor, pulsing as you do so to combine it with the other ingredients. Season with sea salt and black pepper. If you don't own a food processor, finely chop the basil and garlic and use a pestle and mortar to combine. Stir in the oil and season.

Cook the pasta as directed on the packaging. With fresh pasta this means cooking it in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve four tablespoons of the cooking water and then drain the pasta.

In a pan, add the reserved pasta water and the basil pesto along with the cooked spaghetti. Toss to combine and heat gently. Once heated, remove from the heat and place the pesto coated spaghetti on a serving dish. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, the remaining toasted pine nuts and small spoonfuls of the soft goat's cheese on top. Serve straight away.

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DESIGNED BY Frances Walsh 

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