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Improperly Cooked Pasta with Parsley-Mint Pesto

Improperly Cooked Pasta with Parsley-Mint Pesto

In this Improperly Cooked Pasta with Parsley-Mint Pesto recipe, the pasta is cooked in a way counter-intuitive to everything you have been taught. There’s no need to wait for a huge pot of water to boil, and no need to add a ton of salt. Skeptical? I was too.

I did some research and read an article on Serious Eats and decided to give it a go. And it worked. Try it below with half the amount of water and half the time to make it, then tell me what you think.

When I’m not making my own pasta, I only use pasta from Leah Ferrazzani’s Semolina Artisanal Pasta. Leah set out to prove in 2014 that great pasta doesn’t have to be imported from Italy. Started as a home-based business, Leah uses organic wheat that is U.S. grown. Her pasta is slow-dried, which preserves the natural flavor of the wheat. This brings me to another point. Leah’s pastas have flavor, which is what I love about them. I like to keep the recipes simple, to showcase the flavor that we’ve come to assume plain pasta does not have.


Improperly Cooked Pasta with Parsley-Mint Pesto

Pesto is typically made with basil, but I like switching this up. I love using parsley and mint, which are available year round, inexpensive, and really good for you. I prefer Italian parsley to its curly counterpart, and try to always be sure to have some on hand. 

Serving Suggestions: Quick-Marinated Garlic and Lemon Shrimp, Broccoli and Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine California, Farm to Table, Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2



  • 2 cloves garlic
  • cups Italian Parsley leaves
  • ½ cup fresh spearmint (garden mint) leaves
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ cup walnut halves
  • cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, or to taste
  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 4-5 grinds freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/2 pound Semolina Artisanal Pasta, a short variety, not a long variety such as spaghetti (I used Conchiglie)
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Get out a large cutting board. Finely chop together the garlic, parsley, mint, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Scrape into a large serving bowl and mix with oil.
  2. To cook pasta, put uncooked pasta in a pot and cover with cold water by 1-2”. Add ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn to a simmer, cover, and cook 2-3 minutes less than package instructions. Drain well, and mix with pesto in serving bowl.

Recipe Notes

You can use twice the amount of pasta for the same amount of pesto ingredients if you prefer. The pesto may be made in a food processor, but I find this rustic style special, which differentiates it from store-bought pesto.

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