Roasted Quail, Pasta with Cilantro Pecan Pesto and Grilled Bread




1 cup olive oil (240ml)

1 tsp. salt (4gr)

2 tbsp. cilantro leaves (10gr)

1/3 cup pecans (33gr)

1 clove garlic

½ cup grated parmesan cheese (50gr)

4 whole quail, prepared for roasting

8 oz. dry spaghetti, or the pasta of your choice

4 slices dense artisanal bread


Using an immersion blender or food processor, combine the olive oil, salt, cilantro, pecans and garlic. Pulse until well combined. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Set aside ¼ cup (60ml) of the pesto for basting the quail.

Heat your oven to 350°F (176°C.) Also, fill a medium saucepan with water, and bring to a boil, which you will need for preparing the pasta.

Place the quail in a large roasting pan. Baste with the pesto, and place in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, basting with the pesto every 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and brown the quail for 5-10 minutes, until they are the desired level of golden brown.  Remove from the oven.

To grill the bread, simply brush on a bit of the pesto  on one side of the bread. You can place the bread under the heated broiler for 2-3 minutes to grill, or instead, you could heat a griddle on your stove, and place the bread face down to grill there. Both will give you good results.

While the quail is roasting you can boil the pasta, following the package directions for cooking and cooling.

Once the pasta is cooked, combine with the remaining pesto, and toss to combine well. Place in serving dish, and top with roasted quail. Serve immediately with grilled bread.


For best results, don’t use the pesto you were using to baste the uncooked quail. Try to use up the ¼ c/60ml of pesto that you set aside specifically for basting, in order to avoid cross contamination with uncooked quail meat.

Also, when making the pesto, you could opt for adding hand chopped cilantro and pecans to the blended oil and garlic, for a more distinct texture. Making pesto takes just the tiniest amount of blending with an electric appliance, as a cilantro pecan smoothie isn’t the goal. Work for a toothy, granular texture. I think I over blended the pesto you see in these shots. I will probably hand chop and blend next time.