Malunggay Pesto Pasta with Longganisa
Malunggay a common backyard plant is now getting international attention and is acclaimed to be the next superfood. Aside from having high nutritive value studies show it has a lot of healing properties.
Malunggay is widely used in cooking not only in South East Asia but in South Asia and the Caribbean as well. Fresh malunggay leaves is hard to come by here in the Northeast, though I know that you can get these in most Asian grocers in California.
I chanced upon a bottle of Malunggay Pesto at Legaspi Sunday Market on our trip to Manila last year. The vendor gave a lot of suggestions on ways to use this pesto.
For this recipe, you only need a handful of ingredients. Your bottled pesto, spaghetti noodles, parmesan cheese, and longganisa.
Remove 4 sausage (Longganisa) meat from casings, crumble and pan fry in a non-stick pan until brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Sausage meat will render fat so it’s not necessary to add any type of oil during cooking.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions (I only cooked 2 serving portions). Remember to salt your water. Once cooked save a cup of pasta water then drain your spaghetti. Place pasta in a ceramic bowl, add desired amount of malunggay pesto and a handful of grated parmesan cheese and about 1/2 cup pasta water to begin with. Toss everything together until well combined. You will notice that the water helps the sauce to emulsify and become creamy. This is the secret to making creamy pesto pasta without the added grease.
Place your pesto pasta in a deep bowl. Top with more parmesan cheese and a generous portion of your pan fried crumbled longganisa. You can add a handful of baby spinach when tossing your pasta with the sauce for added texture.