I love pestos for their versatility. Having a little jar of pesto in the fridge means you can perk up a soup, make an appetizer, dress up a simple piece of chicken or fish, all in seconds. The most basic, traditional pesto usually involves basil, Parmesan, olive oil, sometimes nuts, and salt and pepper. But home cooks and chefs everywhere have long wandered outside of those parameters; this one features parsley and spinach and tastes wonderfully green.
A great change up from regular basil pasta, with a very fresh and delicate taste. Perfect for so many uses.Tweet This
Pesto actually means “to pound” or “to crush,” referring to the original utensil used to make pestos: a marble mortar and wooden pestle. The ingredients of pesto were ground, kind of pounded, with the pestle in the mortar, using a circular motion. Definitely how they made pesto not only back in the day in Italy, but still to this day in traditional kitchens. I also just went to Japan for the first time, and saw the most beautiful mortars and pestles there….all over the world people like to grind and crush spices and other ingredients.
If the sharpness of raw garlic is too much for the taste buds of your people, try this: chop the garlic and saute it in the olive oil in a small pan over very low heat for 5 to 10 minutes just until it is soft and golden but not browned. This will take some of the bite out. Cool, then proceed with the recipe. It’s an extra step, but it can be done ahead of time, and you may want to make more – garlic oil is nice to have in the fridge for impromptu French bread, starting any kind of soup or stew or sauté or stir fry, and also to enhance salad dressings.
And you should also check out 10 Things to Make with Leftover Pesto. You never want to make just the right amount of pesto for one recipe—you’d gyp yourself out of another 1/2 dozen delicious things later in the week.
And check out this Spinach Parsley Pesto Garlic Bread:
And these roasted carrots with Spinach Parley Pesto:
And these crostini with Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche blended with Spinach Parley Pesto:
The ideas, they keep on coming! This will last for a week tightly sealed in the fridge.
Spinach Parsley Pesto
- 3 cloves garlic
- ⅓ cup minced scallions
- 2 cups packed parsley leaves
- 2 cups packed roughly chopped fresh spinach
- ¼ cup pine nuts optional
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse or kosher and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ⅔ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Place the garlic, scallions, parsley and spinach in a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is roughly chopped (or use a mortar and pestle). Add the pine nuts, if using, the oil, and salt and pepper and process, scraping down the sides, part way through, until everything is well blended.
- At this point, for best texture you should transfer the pesto to a small bowl or container before stirring in the Parmesan, but you are welcome to throw the cheese into the food processor and pulse to blend.
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