Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Raw Celeriac Pasta with Black Garlic Pesto

One of the great joys of cooking is the freedom to experiment with ingredients. For a raw chef this can mean entering a completely undiscovered "regions." What goes well with cooked dishes may go south with raw food. But the world belongs to the brave and unless you open your mind fully to new possibilities, you will end up eating the same food over and over again.

Years ago I discovered the black garlic in Hong Kong. You might have seen it in fine grocery stores, or at least heard of it. I became a sort of fad with sophisticated European or American chefs and many gourmets experiment with it in their kitchens.

I have been using it for years and it became a secret ingredients in many of my signature dishes. Black garlic pesto is one of them.

Black garlic has been valued by the Chinese and by the Koreans since the ancient times. It was believed to prolong life. Modern research confirmed its health benefits: Black garlic contains twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic. It is rich in a compound known as S-allyl-cysteine or SAC. Research shows that SAC has a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective activity. It helps strengthen the immune system, reduce bad cholesterol, and may even have the capacity to prevent types of certain cancer.  

Black garlic is produced in a fermentation process that takes something between thirty and ninety days. Garlic that has been fermented for a longer time is considered to be superior, but it also is more expensive.  

Black garlic has a wonderful molasses-like sweetness with a slight touch of garlic flavor, but it does not have the pungency of raw garlic.  It can be used in savory dishes and in desserts. Give it a try!


for the pasta
  • 1 medium large celeriac (celery root)
  • 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt 
  • 1 Tbsp freshly pressed lemon juice

for the pesto
  • 1/4 cup black garlic cloves
  • 1 small fresh garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • freshly pressed juice of 1 small lemon (I used the sweeter and fruitier Meyer lemon)
  • 1/3 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw cedar nuts (use pine nuts if cedar nuts are hard to come by)
  •  1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper (add more if you prefer)

  • Peel the celeriac and make noodles using spiralizer or a vegetable peeler. In a bowl gently mix the noodles with salt and lemon juice. Set aside to tenderize. 
  • Using a food processor pulse the pine or cedar nuts. You want your nuts slightly coarse. Stop processing when you have the desired coarseness. Set aside.
  • Process all the other pesto ingredients until you are satisfied with the consistency. Pesto should be creamy but not too runny. 
  • Transfer pesto into a bow. Add crushed nuts and mix again. The pesto should have refreshingly sweet and nutty taste. Add more salt or pepper if needed. 
  • Portion out the celeriac pasta. Add a scoop of pesto. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy in good company!

Tip: If you do not have celeriac, try this pesto on raw parsnip pasta. I did not add any cheese, but if you have a chunk of aged nut cheese you may want add some to this recipe. If you are not a strict vegan, you may want to add some raw milk Pecorino or a good Parmigiano-Reggiano. Use this pesto to make salad dressings and dips. And if you eat cooked food, add it to your tagliatelle or tortellini pasta, or to a cream of celeriac or a creamy potato soup. Experiment. It really is fun!

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon©2015


*Information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

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