Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Parsley pesto

So I had a ton of leftover parsley in the fridge and it was starting to go bad, so I thought hmm..what can I do with all this parsley?? Besides making a really herb-friendly tomato salad, I thought pesto was the perfect solution. I actually got this recipe from Rachel Eats, which is pretty awesome if any of you are looking for another foodie blog to follow.

What you'll need:
150 g flat leaf italian parsley (or however  much you have in your fridge that is starting to die)

50 g pine nuts

2-4 cloves of garlic

50 g grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

250 ml extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt

This recipe is really easy to make, and takes about 20 minutes to prepare. Best of all, you can make a large quantity and keep it for the week!

1. Wash and dry the parsley very well, using a clean cloth. Separate the leaves from the stems, making sure to remove any yellow/already wilted ones.

2. Smash the garlic, crush the nuts, and add them to a food processor ( or a mortar and pestle if you have one) with a little bit of salt. Pulse the processor as you add the parsley leaves a little bit at a time, until you have a grainy green paste.

3. Transfer the paste to a bowl.  Pour the olive oil in a thin stream, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. I found I didn't need to use all of the olive oil (maybe only 150 ml), likely because I didn't have that much parsley. 

4. Add the cheese and continue stirring. Taste and adjust seasoning - I added a bit more salt to mine.

5. Pesto will last in the fridge for a few days, but the sooner you eat it, the fresher it will taste. If you happened to have a LOT of extra parsley in the fridge and made a big batch, store half of it in the freezer until you're ready to serve. For one portion of pasta, about 2 tbsp of pesto will suffice. It may not look like a lot but pesto has a very strong taste, so don't over power your meal.

Parsley pesto on angelhair pasta
I think pesto works best with thin pastas, like angel hair or spaghetti, but since I live alone and didn't want to eat pasta for 3 days straight, I found some other uses for this concoction. 

1) Use as a marinade or rub on chicken breast or white fish

2) Spread over a baked baguette as a garlic bread substitute

3) Use it as a pizza sauce! Sounds odd but it's great for a veggie pizza with sun dried tomatoes and fetta, or even with some sliced chicken

Although pesto is usually made with basil, I really liked the parsley twist. Think of the pesto formula as "herb + nut + cheese + garlic + oil = pesto". The ingredients can be changed as long as they fall into one of those categories. Feel free to try it with cilantro instead of parsley, or with walnuts instead of pine nuts. I think my next venture will be to try it with rosemary or oregano....

Happy Hump Day!


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