Gemelli with Pesto (Jan. 4)

Senator Kevin O'Toole

Senator Kevin O’Toole cooks Gemelli with Pesto with host Nick Acocella.

On each episode of the NJTV series Pasta & Politics, host Nick Acocella invites a New Jersey political giant into the kitchen to talk politics and cook a meal together. Senator Kevin O’Toole and Acocella prepare gemelli with pesto on the January 4 program. Here’s the make-it-yourself takeaway!

Gemelli with Pesto Recipe


1 pound gemelli or any other twisty pasta (fusilli, rocchetti, rotini, etc.)
½ cup olive oil
4 cups basil
1 clove garlic with skin on
5 tablespoons pine nuts
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
½ lemon juiced
Salt and pepper to taste


Boil the pasta until al dente (firm, not mushy).
Toast the pine nuts and the garlic (with the skin on) in a skillet over a medium heat for about two to three minutes until the pine nuts begin to turn gold in color.

Remove the skin from the garlic.
Put all the ingredients in a blender, food processor, or Cuisinart and pulse until it has the viscosity of a thick soup.

Reserve some pasta water to adjust the thickness of the pesto.
Fold the pesto into the pasta until it covers all the pasta.