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Fresh Friday – Winter Pasta with Parsley & Walnut Pesto

Posted in Fresh Fridays on Dec 11,2014

parsleypesto

When my mother was pregnant with me and raising my older sister, we had an old italian nanny, Anna. Anna cooked amazing italian food and was especially heavy handed with fresh garlic (my kind of woman!), in fact when I was just a toddler my dad says he used to come home from work, give me a kiss, and instead of smelling like a fresh baby I smelled like garlic. Well the first time my mom tried pesto was when she was pregnant with me and when Anna made a large batch, fresh. My mom found it so delicious that she ate, and ate, and ate it until she was too nauseous to eat anymore, and felt pretty sick. I think this is why I love pesto SO much, I was in her belly urging her on to eat more 🙂

So, pesto is by far one of my most favorite foods. I spread it on sandwiches, use it when stuffing mushrooms or peppers, marinate chicken in it, mix it in quinoa, and of course toss it with peas and tortellini for a cold pasta salad.  But my all time favorite way to eat pesto is with hot angel hair spaghetti, just delish! My typical pesto recipe uses handfuls of fresh summer basil, buttery pine nuts, raw garlic, and pecorino romano cheese.  Of course you can buy pre-made pesto from the grocery store, but nothing beats the color or the taste of real homemade pesto. Here is an excellent pesto recipe that uses winter friendly Parsley in place of basil. The walnuts give it a heartier, cold weather flavor.  This parsley walnut pesto is a perfect winter remedy if, like me, you are having pesto withdrawal! This is the ultimate comfort food.

 

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Recipe

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
3 large cloves garlic
Leaves from 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup walnut oil
1–2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar
1/2 cup freshly grated aged Pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
Salt to taste

In a large pan over medium high heat, toast walnuts, shaking the pan frequently until walnuts start to smell toasty and look slightly darker in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
In a food processor or blender, pulse garlic until minced – scraping the sides down as needed. Add parsley leaves and pulse until reduced a bit. Add oil and lemon juice and whirl until fairly smooth.
Add walnuts and pulse until as smooth as you like, I suggest leaving some chunks of walnut in there for crunch. Add cheese and pulse to combine. Add salt to taste. 

I have mine with spelt angel hair spaghetti or quinoa penne. If you want to make this dairy free you can substitute nutritional yeast for the cheese or leave the cheese out all together.

 

enjoy : )

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