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Parsley and Walnut Pesto, featuring roasted garlic

So…I haven’t posted anything in a while, do you forgive me? I was a little busy this summer with my internship, but I will try to never again leave you waiting for so long.

Although I will leave you waiting for the recipe due to my usual rambling, so here’s a preview of the actual purpose of this post.

I haven’t been able to check on the garden at my parent’s house very often this summer, but I do know it wasn’t quite as prosperous as last year. There was probably too much rain for some of the vegetables. We still got a lot of tomatoes and green beans, but practically no squash or cucumbers. It was a little sad. We attempted beets and carrots this year too, and it looks like we may have planted them too close together, but it’s ok because we still got some delicious product from it!

Check out these lovely beet greens, and the carrot greens behind them

Tomatoes! You might see these a couple times in this post as a garnish

We did manage to get a ton of herbs, which we smartly planted right outside the kitchen door. I came home from NYC on August 26th, so my mom and I made sure to cut as much of the herbs as we could to save them from Hurricane Irene. It started raining while we gathered, but the hurricane didn’t really get going until much later.

Basil!

We decided to freeze most of the basil. So we cut, picked the leaves, washed them, let dry, then put into freezer storage bags and hoped the hurricane wouldn’t knock out our power (it didn’t). I saved some unpicked bundles in a container of water to use during the week.

I love me some parsley

We did pretty much the same thing with the parsley, except I kept a lot more unfrozen to make a parsley pesto for dinner.

I know many people make basil pesto. I had a ton of basil, why did I make the pesto predominantly with parsley? Well, because I felt like it. Were you expecting a real reason? And why walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts? Because we had walnuts in the house, and because they are way cheaper than pine nuts and still delicious.

One more explanation before I present you with the recipe: why did I roast the garlic? That’s an easy one. My parents don’t like raw garlic. Even in a delicious pesto they find the flavor to be too overwhelming. So, I roasted it. A head of garlic might sound like a garlic festival to those who aren’t fond of the tasty morsels, but when you roast it the flavor becomes much more subtle and bearable. Just cut the top off of the head leaving the cloves exposed. Don’t worry, there’s a picture coming later.

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Parsley and Walnut Pesto

1 small head of garlic
½ cup walnuts
4 cups parsley
½ cup basil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup olive oil, plus more for roasting garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb pasta (penne or farfalle recommended)
½ cup reserved pasta water

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic, exposing top of cloves and leaving them together. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap in foil and bake until lightly browned, about 30-40 minutes.

Roasted garlic, as promised

In a food processor, process walnuts until finely ground. Squeeze garlic cloves out of their peels, and process until well combined. Add parsley, basil, and lemon juice.

In case you’re curious as to how I measured my 4 cups of parsley. I did not pack it, just kind of lightly squished.

With processor running, slowly pour in ½ cup olive oil. Season to taste, adjust as needed.

It’s so green!

Toss pesto with cooked pasta, and add small amounts of reserved pasta water as needed.

Garnished with garden tomatoes, basil, and parmesan shavings…delightful!