Friday, March 12, 2010

Pesto of a different sort

During the summer when we stay at Alex's house in Sonoma there is always fresh basil, and by virtue of that fact we eat a LOT of pesto during the warm summer months so it has become a food that I associate with dinners on the porch soaking up the early evening sunshine. Looking outside at the damp gray world I can't think of anything in the whole world that sounds more enticing right now then grabbing a bowl and heading in the back yard to pick fresh basil in the sunshine. Sadly, right now in the dead of winter here in frigid California (ok, so maybe its not that cold, but it did rain today) there is little fresh basil to be found. We could buy frozen or jarred pesto which does the trick in a pinch. But somehow in the middle of winter when you really begin to miss summer, eating foods like pesto that bring to mind flip flops, and dining al fresco, just seems more sad than satisfying.

Thumbing through the latest Martha Stewart Everyday magazine I found what one could consider a compromise between my need for pesto, and my aversion to foods that make my heart ache for sunshine. It's a simple recipe for pea and parsley pesto. A thick green oily sauce like traditional pesto, but this sauce doesn't have that summery aroma of basil that screams summer. The lack of basil goodness is made up for with a nuttier flavor than its summary counterpart, and a healthy dose of garlic. And it is DAMN good. In the same way that fancy warm winter coats and boots totally save winter fashion from being boring, the walnuts and peas make this winter pesto exciting. Basically this recipe made my whole week and I am once again able to embrace winter. I like to think of this recipe as Martha's midwinter gift to me, and lord knows that in the midst of gray sky's and midterms I needed a little pick me up.
Pea and Parsley Pesto
Everyday Food
  • 1 cup frozen peas (I will not stop you from using fresh if you got 'em)
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 garlic cloves (3 regular sized, only two if they are large) smashed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

If using frozen peas cook them for a minute or so in the microwave covered with two tablespoons of water.

In a food processor combine the peas, parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic and one tablespoon of water. Pulse until everything is blended to a paste. While the machine is running slowly add in the olive oil and continue to run the food processor until the mixture is blended.

Add salt and pepper to taste. We followed the serving suggestion and served this over pasta that we added another cup of frozen peas to during the last minute of boiling and it was wonderful. It would also be fantastic on sandwiches, mixed into hummus or salad dressing, or in an omelet. MMM...winter pesto.


  1. oh that looks GENIUS. of course -- it's martha :) although i feel like we're past winter here these days i would definitely still make that!

  2. I JUST made pea pesto last night for my party tonight. It was awesome on some baguette with a fresh tomato slice. Yum! :)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog :D