Friday, October 26, 2012


by Sheila Connolly

I know most of us here have offered recipes for yummy sweets to celebrate Halloween, but I thought I'd go in another direction. 

Once you've handed out vast quantities of sugary goodies to the local ghoulies and ghosties (we usually get about a hundred kids in our neighborhood—sure, some are driven in by their parents, but we don't count the teenagers), you may want a quick and simple dish for the grown-ups who haven't gorged on candy corn.

In our household spaghetti with pesto is a staple meal, whenever we can get our hands on enough fresh basil.  Recently I did a doubletake and realized I had all the ingredients for an "antipesto"—in other words, all black.  It's like a negative image of the usual recipe—and it's perfect for Halloween.


Halloween Antipesto

2 cups fresh purple basil (I came upon this at a farmers market in a rest stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike.  How could I resist?)

 2 Tblsp pine nuts (sorry, no black nuts)

2 cloves black garlic (I've used this here at MLK before—it's milder than regular garlic, and no garlic breath)

 1 tsp salt (and I have black salt!)

A scant ½ cup olive oil

½ cup freshly grated parmesan

3 Tblsp butter, softened

And…black pasta! (made with squid ink, which has little or no taste)


Wash and dry the basil and remove leaves from stems.

Place the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and salt in the bowl of the food processor and chop coarsely.

With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Process until coarsely smooth.

Add the parmesan and butter and pulse a few times to blend.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain it, then mix it with the pesto.  Serve quickly! (preferably before midnight…and then you can celebrate the Irish harvest festival, Samhain, on November 1!)




  1. Wow, Sheila, what lovely "gruesome" looking pasta. Perfect for an adult party. No way would kids eat this! LOL. Spooky. Love it. And I know lots of adults who like to party-hearty for Halloween.

    ~Daryl aka Avery

  2. It was a dark and stormy night when i first heard of black garlic, but I have yet to try it!

    This looks like a great recipe, and I can't wait to make it--with garlic in my favorite Halloween color, of course.

  3. What an inspired idea! If you don't tell children what's in it (squid ink) they may think it's really cool. My kids have loved pesto since they were little. I can see them taking ghoulish delight in this variation.

  4. Oh, Sheila! How clever of you. It's hard to find truly black foods. I don't think I've ever run across purple basil, but even green pesto on the black pasta would look appropriately spooky! Bet it tastes great! I love the elegant dish. A couple of candelabra with black candles and spiderwebs draped on them and woohoo -- what an elegant Halloween dinner! Natasha would love it!

    ~ Krista

  5. What an interesting Halloween twist on the usual! Love it, Sheila!