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Covid-19 stay-home guide: Pasta in bright, versatile sauce

At a loss as to what to cook today? Fret not. In this daily series, STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo features nourishing recipes you can whip up during the circuit breaker period

Hedy Khoo on 29 Apr 2020

The Straits Times


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It may seem troublesome to make your own pesto when you can easily get store-bought ones, but this recipe is worth the effort.


This coriander chilli macadamia nut pesto is one of my favourite sauces as it is fresh-tasting and versatile. I use it as a dip for bread and also as a sauce to bake chicken and fish in.


English parsley and coriander are easier to get hold of and more economical than sweet basil. If you cannot get English parsley, just use more coriander.


You can also use baked cashew nuts instead of baked macadamia nuts.


Rinse and allow the vegetables to dry before using them. You can make the sauce in advance and store it chilled in an airtight glass jar. It should keep for up to a week.


The amount of olive oil needed depends on whether you are using a blender or food processor. With a food processor, use about 150ml of extra virgin olive oil. With a blender, use 100ml.


If you cannot find brown rice spaghetti, substitute with other types of pasta and cook according to the instructions on the packet.






  • 5 green finger chillies (100g), cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1 red chilli padi (optional)
  • 80g baked macadamia nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 60ml lemon juice, from 1 fresh lemon
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 50g English parsley, stems removed, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 80g coriander, cut into 4cm pieces
  • Yields 380g of pesto




  • 2.4 litres of water (100g of uncooked spaghetti to 1 litre of water)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 240g uncooked brown rice spaghetti
  • 300g of pesto
  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 8 baby tomatoes, quartered




1. To prepare the pesto: In a blender, place the green chillies, red chilli padi, macadamia nuts, garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and English parsley. Pulse several times, then blend until smooth.


2. Add the coriander and pulse to coarsely chop it.


3. To store, transfer the mixture into an airtight glass jar and keep refrigerated for up to a week.


4. Prepare the pasta: Bring 2.4 litres of water to a boil in a large pot. Season the water with salt and allow the water to come to a boil again.


5. Place the spaghetti in the pot and boil for 11 minutes uncovered. Drain the spaghetti into a colander and rinse with cool water.


6. Transfer the spaghetti back into the pot. Add the pesto and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well. Add the baby tomatoes and mix well.


7. Serve immediately.


Makes four servings


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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