Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Use It or Lose It Challenge: Parsley and Roasted Almond Pesto






















Greetings!  And happy leftover season, if you celebrated Easter this past weekend.  I spent mine with Jessica's family.  They are lovely people, and so welcoming.  Some of my best moments since I've lived here have happened on the porch at their country village, beers in hand, hanging with friends, watching the nefarious pony kick his heels up and scheme to get us to feed him more hay.  Jess wasn't home this time, though---I missed you sorely, friend!  

Jessica's mom, ever-generous, sent me home with leftover ham, sweet corn from last summer's garden, and huge bunches of fresh-cut rosemary and flat-leaf italian parsley from her herb bed.  And on the way home I got to wondering... what the heck am I going to do with all that parsle? I mean, tabbouleh is the first answer, but I didn't have any bulgar wheat or couscous, and the goal this week is to clean out, use up and otherwise get ready for the abundance of fresh produce from the market this weekend.

This reminded me of a recent Slate article on using up the bounty from your CSA box.  Mark Bittman was quoted and said something like, "You should be putting parsley on everything," so it should, obviously, never go bad.  Um, hi Mark---I'm Diana (nice to meet you), and I don't cook  every day, and what am I going to put this here parsley on?  My oatmeal?  Clearly, I needed to bring in the big guns.

Turns out, Google can Help You Out.  "What do I do with a ton of parsley" schooled me in the ways of parsley pesto.  Alright!  I said.  Let's do it.

Parsley and Roasted Almond Pesto
Improvised from a bunch of online recipes that all use walnuts

Fresh parsley--a big handful
Almonds
Garlic--a clove or more, chopped
Parmesan cheese to your taste
Olive oil

Mostly I eyeballed this.  But the measurements I remember are: about 2/3 cup of almonds and about 2 1/2 loosely packed cups of chopped parsley.






















Spread your almonds on a pie pan and roast in a 350 degree oven.


















While almonds are roasting, chop your parsley.


















Take the almonds out of the oven when they're golden brown (about 20 minutes --  I peeked in every now and then)


Transfer the almonds to your blender or food processor and pulse to chop them up.























Add in the parsley, garlic, parmesan cheese and just enough olive oil to hold it together.  You want to aim for a thick paste.






















(blend blend)  Ta-da!  Pesto!   Of the intensely nutty and pungent variety.  I could have eaten it with a spoon, but I was civil and had it on spaghetti.  The rest is now frozen into ice-cube-sized portions.  I'm pretty sure I will be reaching for my own homemade convenience food during finals.


















Now, any ideas for using up a bunch of fresh rosemary?

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