Roasted Garlic Pesto Spaghettini with Pan Fried Oyster Mushrooms + Crispy Pancetta

If you're a pesto lover, you will LOVE this version! Roasting the garlic mellows out the flavour and gives depth to this easy, fresh pasta dish!

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Happy Thursday and Happy last day of February everyone! Spring is just around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

So when I think about spring I think of light, fresh meals that don’t require a ton of time in the kitchen. This pesto pasta is a great way to get ready for sunnier weather because even though its pasta it’s still fresh and doesn’t feel heavy.

I don’t know about you, but I love pesto! With the addition of roasted garlic, this pesto has a more mellow, less sharp flavour.

There are many ways to roast garlic, but in this recipe, I slow roasted in oil. I did this for 1 reason - I didn't have any tinfoil. But, in the end, it turned out to be the best "mistake" I have made in a while. Since we all know pesto needs olive oil, you can use the oil you cook your garlic in and add even more flavour to your dish.

Now, don’t be afraid of the amount of garlic that is in the recipe. It’s a lot, and if it was raw, it would be so incredibly overpowering. But since it’s cooked the flavour is mellow and sweet.

Lastly, I had beautiful oyster mushrooms that I found at the farmers market, but if you can’t find them or they are not readily available where you live, white mushrooms work just as well.

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 40 minutes

total time 1 hour

servings 4

Ingredients

1 full head of garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup walnuts + more to garnish

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp salt + 2 tsp for pasta water

5 oz pancetta

3 cups oyster mushrooms (or any mushrooms you have)

3/4 lb spaghettini

Instructions

In a small saucepan combine peeled garlic cloves and olive oil, cook over medium heat until the edges of garlic begin to bubble. Reduce heat and allow garlic to simmer for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Be sure to turn your garlic ever 2-3 minutes so that it does not burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a food processor combine basil, parmesan, walnuts, garlic and oil. Blend until smooth then add in lemon juice and salt and blend for 30 more seconds. Taste the pesto and add additional lemon juice and salt if necessary.

In a large saucepan add in pancetta and fry for 4-5 minutes or until crispy. Remove pancetta from the pot and place in a small bowl, drain all but 1 tbsp of the pancetta grease and set aside. To the pot add chopped mushrooms and fry until all of the liquid is gone, and the mushrooms are golden brown. Add the mushrooms to the bowl with the pancetta.

Fill the same large saucepan 3/4 full with water, add in salt and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling add in pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, drain then place pasta back in the pot.

To the pasta add in pancetta, mushrooms and pesto. Stir well then serve immediately. Garnish with chopped walnuts.

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