Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Parsley Walnut Pesto

Is there anything better than the smell of fresh basil in the summertime? My porch becomes a little piece of heaven when it overflows with flowers and smells of basil. Unfortunately, there comes a time when my lush, leafy basil stalks turn to brown woody ones that smell of decaying basil, so into the dumpster they go. The circle of life.

But then there comes a time when I want some pasta but I'm sick of tomato sauce and can't afford the calories packed into a cream sauce. I could of course go to the grocery store and pay an obscene amount of money for enough fresh basil to make some pesto, but looking back upon the abundance of the summer makes such a prospect just too painful.

So how about some parsley walnut pesto? It's just as delicious as basil pesto, but won't make you yearn for a summer season that's months away. And because parsley is cheaper than basil and walnuts are cheaper than pine nuts, it's economical, too!

Parsley Walnut Pesto
  • 2 cups loosely-packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place parsley, walnuts, cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until well combined.

With the food processor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream. You may need as little as half a cup, so go slowly, and stop when the pesto reaches a consistency that works for you. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed.

This pesto doesn't discolor as easily as basil pesto does, but it's still best to use it within a couple days. Of course, you can always divide it into small portions, place those portions in little plastic bags, and freeze it all for a few months. As needed, remove a bag of pesto from the freezer; it will defrost very quickly.


Garrett said...

To a heathen Spam-eating non-foodie like me, pesto tends to look like spinach gone horribly wrong. But over the past couple of years, (I believe it may have been you who first introduced me) I have developed a strong taste for it as a substitute for more standard sauces. I actually crave that very unique flavor sometimes.

Weird: healthy, strong flavor, tasty. Excellent.

Leah said...

Maybe the next time you're around I'll make some pesto. And potatoes, of course.
And you don't eat Spam.
So you?