Parsley Pesto

Parsley Pesto

Pesto

Parsley grows like a weed

It's so nice to finally see those fresh new greens in the spring, and yet, sometimes to cook locally you have to work to think of ways to use a lot of parsley in cooking - we're so used to thinking of parsley as just a garnish. You can use lots of parsley in omelettes or with new potatoes, and it's good in chicken soup, but making parsley pesto to use on pizza or on pasta is another good way to go.

How to make Parsley Pesto:

Pull 2 cups of fresh parsley (I always use the Italian flat-leaf kind) off the stems, and put them in a food processor with 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 3 cloves of garlic, and 1/3 cup nuts. I use hazelnuts because that's what grows locally here in Oregon, but the most traditional thing is pine nuts. Walnuts will work well too. Process until it's all mixed and pretty smooth; you may have to do it in batches depending on how big your food processor is. Use immediately or freeze a cup at a time in tupperwares or plastic baggies. Label the baggies with the date so you'll know which ones to use first.

Basil

What do I do with pesto?

Most often I use pesto as a sauce for spaghetti, often with salmon or chickpeas and broccoli in it too. Sometimes I spread pesto on pizza instead of the tomato sauce. I also put some pesto in my tomato soup, to give it more flavor in the wintertime when fresh parsley isn't available. Parsley pesto's also good to spread on pizza.

Vegetarian or vegan?

Naturally vegetarian. You can make vegan pesto by leaving out the cheese; some people like to double the nuts to make up for it, others don't.

How long will pesto keep?

You should freeze whatever you don't use immediately, so it will taste fresher when you defrost it. Frozen, it will last until next spring. To defrost it, either leave it on the counter for a few hours, or microwave it for a minute. Take it out of the tupperware before you microwave it, and put it in a microwave safe ceramic bowl.