Cilantro Pasta is a pasta dish consisting of cilantro leaves, which may be included whole or in the pureed form with other ingredients like olive oil, garlic, lime juice and seasonings to make a sauce for the pasta. Cilantro lends a distinct taste to the pasta, which is prepared by tossing cooked pasta with a cilantro based sauce. The dish is prepared in different ways in various culinary cultures like European, American and Asian, and may be served as a starter, side or main dish. Goat cheese, basil or soy sauce are some of the additional ingredients used to prepare variations of the dish.
What is Cilantro?
Cilantro is an annual herb or the Apiaceae family, which consists of bright green colored leaves that are known to have a strong flavor, often considered soapy by some. It is used extensively in Mexican, Russian, Chinese and South Asian cooking. The leaves are mostly used in raw form in various dishes, as cooking diminishes their flavor to a large extent. They also tend to spoil quickly once plucked from the plant, and are generally not used in dried or frozen form as they lose their aroma.
Ingredients and Preparation
Cilantro pasta is made with cilantro leaves, pasta such as spaghetti or farfalle, garlic, lime juice, fresh chopped ginger root, red pepper flakes, olive oil and salt.
The pasta is cooked in boiling salted water till al dente, after which it is drained. Meanwhile, all the other ingredients are pureed together to make a smooth sauce, and some of the water reserved from cooking pasta is also added in to obtain the desired consistency. The hot pasta is tossed with this sauce, and the seasonings are adjusted.
Cilantro pasta is served hot, as a starter, side or main dish. It may be garnished with cilantro sprig or leaves and/or grated cheese before serving.
Popular Cilantro Pasta Recipe Variations
- Bowtie Pasta with Cilantro, Basil, Spinach and Goat Cheese: To make this version, a sauce is made by processing together cilantro, basil, spinach and goat cheese, and the cooked pasta is tossed with it.
- Thai Cilantro Pasta: This version is prepared with spaghetti or any thin pasta. A sauce is made by whisking together peanut butter, soy sauce and lemon juice, and sesame oil, chili oil and red pepper flakes are blended into this. The cooked spaghetti is tossed with this sauce, chopped green onions and cilantro leaves. The dish is garnished with cilantro sprigs and peanuts.