Some foods are more fun to have than they are to make. In my book, pesto qualifies. I almost never make it for immediate use; I make a big batch and whittle it down over the course of a week or two, tossing it into a bowl with tomatoes, schmearing it on toast . . .
When we had dinner at Tavolata a few weeks ago, I had a lovely dish of wide, pliable fresh pasta sheets slathered with a tangy parsley pesto. Mixing this lemony version with good dried fettuccine is a decent at-home approximation.
It’s also perfect for tossing with ripe tomatoes:
Recipe for Parsley Pesto (PDF)
Recipe 221 of 365
Serving suggestions: Fold into pasta. Spread inside a panini. Whisk into vinaigrette. Slather on toast. Stuff into chicken breasts. Layer inside caprese. Stir into soup. Mix with goat cheese for crackers. Eat with a spoon. Toss with fresh vegetables and nuts for a pretty salad, nestled into Bibb lettuce: tomatoes and pine nuts, roasted beets and walnuts, etc. Make chicken salad. Or freeze, for another season, when we’re not so produce-lucky.
TIME: 15 minutes (more if toasting pine nuts)
MAKES: About 1 1/2 cups
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
4 cups parsley (packed into a big 4-cup liquid measure)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup loosely packed freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Whirl garlic and pine nuts in a large food processor until very finely chopped. Add the parsley in three additions, pulsing until chopped between each addition. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and blend. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula, add the cheese, and blend just until combined. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container* in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or in the freezer up to 6 months.
*The less air the pesto is exposed to, the less chance there is of it turning brown. I put mine in Ball jar, then either press a small piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pesto underneath the lid, or cover the pesto with a layer of olive oil before sealing. I find plastic wrap works better when freezing, just be sure to tuck all the plastic neatly under the lid, so no air gets in.