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Pasta with Lemon-Walnut Pesto and Breadcrumbs

Servings: 4

This bright pasta dish uses pantry ingredients to beautiful effect. Jarred preserved lemon is available at many supermarkets and specialty food stores, or you can make your own.


  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup coarse, fresh breadcrumbs or plain panko
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 3/8 oz.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves; more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 Tbs. chopped preserved lemon
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 12 oz. pasta, such as casarecce

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 760
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 410
  • Fat (g): 46
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 25
  • Cholesterol (mg): 10
  • Sodium (mg): 750
  • Carbohydrates (g): 73
  • Fiber (g): 5
  • Sugar (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 16


  • In a medium skillet, melt the butter with 1 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden-brown and toasted, about 4 minutes; transfer to a plate. Stir 1 Tbs. of the cheese into the breadcrumbs, and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
  • In a food processor, combine the basil, walnuts, preserved lemon, lemon juice, and garlic, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, pour in the remaining 1/2 cup oil until the mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and then drain the pasta. Transfer the pasta to the bowl with the pesto, and toss to coat. Add tablespoonfuls of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Divide the pasta among four bowls, and garnish with the breadcrumbs and torn fresh basil leaves.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • Chicagogal | 04/05/2020

    I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand to make this after seeing it in the most recent Fine Cooking magazine. Weirdly, I even had the casarecce pasta and preserved lemons in my pantry. It was absolutely delicious. The only change I made was to add a couple pinches of hot red pepper flakes to the breadcrumb mixture. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

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