I originally made this pesto for a pizza I was making last week and I would have posted about the pizza because it was really delicious but it looked like a weirdo. Seriously I called it "frankenpizza", it looked like a creep. I blame the amount of humidity we had that day making the dough rise too quickly. It's just a theory but the thing had a mind of its own. Anyway, one of the reasons the pizza was so good was because of this pesto. I know traditional pesto is made with basil but I didn't have any and I also know that it's usually made with pine nuts but I didn't have any of those either but I did have parsley, walnuts and zero interest in going to the store. So, I thought I would give it a whirl.
I figured there was really no way that this could have come out badly. The parsley has such bright flavour, accented by a little lemon. Fresh fruity extra virgin olive oil and pungent garlic all complimented by toasted walnuts and of course, parmesan cheese. Absolutely nothing could have turned out wrong with these beautiful ingredients. And it was as spectacular on the pizza as it was the next day with a simple serving of pasta.
1 bunch parsley, leaves and stems roughly chopped
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (see below for instructions)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil and cheese in a blender or food processor. Pulse the processor while slowly streaming the olive oil into the mixture and pulse until all of the ingredients are smoothly blended. Remove from the processor and stir in the parmesan cheese. *Note: Pesto freezes very well with the exception of the cheese so if you plan on freezing, freeze the pesto in individual servings (ice cube trays work well) and when you plan on using it, thaw the pesto and add the cheese before serving.
Serve tossed with pasta, as a pizza sauce or simply as a spread for bread or crackers.
Makes about 2 cups
Toasted Walnut Instructions:
Roughly chop the walnuts and place them in a single layer in a skillet. Heat the pan to low and cook the walnuts, stirring occasionally for 6-8 minutes or just until the nuts become fragrant. Make sure not to leave the nuts unattended as they will burn quickly and easily. Remove from pan and allow to cool before using.