Thursday, May 7, 2015

Parsley and pepita pesto

Sometimes, for example after a long and cold winter when it's finally spring, I go to the grocery store and I just buy everything that's green without making a plan. That's how I ended up this week with a huge bunch of beautiful parsley, the first local spinach, and raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Who knows. It's been a long and very busy month for me, and I was just really feeling like a big pot of spaghetti would do the trick. I've definitely extolled the virtues of obscene quantities of spaghetti on this blog before. So, parsley-pepita pesto was born! And it is delicious! Turns out you don't just have to make pesto out of basil and pine nuts, actually it can be cheaper and just as tasty to throw other weird stuff in there. Sorry to include another recipe that requires a food processor, my next post will be entirely food processor free!

Parsley and pepita pesto:

2 C flat-leaf parsley leaves and thin stems (this was the amount in one bunch for me)
1/2 C raw hulled pepitas, unsalted (they look like little green teardrops, not with the hard white outer shell)
1/4 C grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt or to taste (watch this depending on how salty the cheese is or if you're using salted pepitas)
1 tsp rice vinegar (I know that seems weird, but you barely taste it at all! You could also use cider vinegar or lemon juice)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp pasta water from the cooking pasta, or just warm tap water

Combine parsley, pepitas, garlic, cheese and vinegar in the bowl of your food processor and run the machine until a relatively-even consistency paste forms (you might have to scrape down the sides of the bowl). Taste for salt content, and add all or some of the salt, and run machine again until blended. If your machine has an opening at the top where you can pour things in while the machine is running (mine does), add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time with the machine running. If not, add one tablespoon at a time until combined, then do the same with the water. That's it!

I cooked one pound of spaghetti, and added 4 C of thoroughly washed and chopped spinach to the cooking water with one minute of cooking time remaining on the pasta. Then I drained the pasta and spinach, and added it back to the pasta pot while still hot to toss with all of the pesto. Taste for salt and pepper, garnish with a little more cheese, parsley or olive oil, and eat copious amounts!