Red Lentil Rotini with Hazelnut-Basil Pesto

This twist on classic basil pesto brightens dishes and pairs well with pasta, poultry or vegetables.

3 lbs Barilla Red Lentil Rotini
6 cloves garlic
1-1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1-1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 cups toasted hazelnuts, skinned, divided
1-1/2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & ground black pepper

1. Bring salted water to a boil in steam-jacketed kettle or large stockpot on stovetop. Cook pasta as directed on package. Reserve 3 cups pasta cooking water; drain and return to pot.

2. Meanwhile, place hazelnuts and garlic in food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add basil, cheese and oil; blend until completely combined and finely chopped. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Add sauce to pasta in pot. Cook and stir on medium-low heat while adding pasta water as needed until thoroughly coated and warmed through. Remove pot from heat; stir in zest.

4. Garnish with additional fresh basil leaves and toasted chopped hazelnuts before serving.

Chef Notes: Skin untoasted hazelnuts easily by boiling in 1 quart of water with ΒΌ cup baking soda for 3 minutes. Shock nuts in ice water, drain and slip the skins off by rubbing in a towel. The alkaline water breaks down the pectin in the skins, allowing them to be peeled off completely.