Before Danny Bowien was famous for cooking “Americanized Oriental Cuisine” at Mission Chinese Food, he worked for a Ligurian chef in San Francisco. Through some impossible-sounding fable of a story, he ended up competing in an international pesto-making competition and winning, this Korean kid from Oklahoma beating the Italians at their own game. As an accredited pesto master, he is sometimes disposed to make the green sauce during the months when basil is in high stride. This led, for a brief few nights at the cramped little space that was the first iteration of Mission Chinese Food New York, to pesto ramen. It sounds insane, of course, but it is mega delicious, possibly better than pesto on pasta, and easy to boot. Fresh ramen noodles are a must for this dish. We like Sun Noodle, which probably sells fresh ramen somewhere near your ZIP code.
This comes from our first cookbook, 101 Easy Asian Recipes, out now.
- 4 C basil leaves
- 1T pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 C olive oil
- + kosher salt
- 1 T grated parmesan
- 1 T grated pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
- 4 portions fresh ramen noodles
Wash the basil, leaving some water clinging to the leaves. Roughly chop the pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. With the motor running, add the basil and a pinch of salt and process until smooth. Add the parmesan and pecorino and pulse to mix.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles until they are relaxed but firmer than al dente, about 2 minutes—they will continue to soften after coming out of the water. Drain, rinse quickly in cold water, and toss in a bowl with the pesto. Top with a sprinkle of pecorino and serve.