Tonight's Mission: To make dinner without having to go to the grocery store.
I was in the mood for pasta, but didn't want something heavy and had a craving for something fresh and "happy" tasting, (to match my mood). Immediately, the idea of pesto jumped into my head.
The only problems were: 1. I had no fresh basil, 2. I had no pine nuts, 3. I had very little suitable cheese, 4. I have never actually made pesto, let alone a pesto without basil or pine nuts. What I had, in fact, were leftovers from an Italian extravaganza I had made a week ago... fresh parsley, and a little bit of leftover shredded pecorino romano. The good news? I had the internet, and I knew that pesto could be made with other nuts, namely walnuts, (which I have excess amounts of due to some holiday baking). So, I set out to find a recipe to make something out of nothing.
I found a winner! Parsley Walnut Pesto (recipe below). Thanks to epicurious.com this wonderful recipe from Gourmet was easy to find. In the recipe, the pesto was served on spaghetti squash, but I substituted farfalle because I love pasta.
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 garlic clove
1 1/3 cups packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp. finely grated Pecorino
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. finely grated fresh lemon zest
I decided to add some roasted cherry tomatoes to boost my veggie intake for the day, add some color... and to save the tomatoes in the refrigerator from going bad. ( Not to mention I love the taste of roasted tomatoes.). I tossed them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and put them into a 400 degree oven, until they were soft, and their skin had split open just slightly.
While the tomatoes were roasting, I toasted the walnuts as per the recipe. While they were cooling, I got all of my ingredients ready to go. With the pasta boiling, and the tomatoes out of the oven, it was time to break out my food processor.
Note: I did not follow the recipe's instructions at this point. I added the oil and water first, followed by the garlic, parsley, and nuts, pulsed them together, stirred it up a little bit, then added the cheese and seasonings and pulsed again. (I did not use the full tsp. of salt, I only added about 3/4 tsp.).
This recipe made enough for 4 servings of pasta, and some leftovers. I plan on trying to use the leftover portion with some chicken, soon.
Then, it was time to toss the farfalle in the pesto, and top with the warm tomatoes. It was delicious!!
Not only will I definitely be making this again, but it has given me the courage and ideas to perhaps play around with some pesto recipes of my own! Does anyone have any great pesto recipes to share?
You can find the complete original recipe, here from Gourmet December 2004, via epicurious.com.