Yeah, I still have walnuts about. Five pounds is a lot of walnuts!
I’ve tried making winter pestos in the past – and I’ve tried them with walnuts. I’ve never been thrilled with the results. I realize not the error of my ways, though. I kept turning to arugula as my green, as my winter “basil.” I kept things a bit more simple and used flat-leaf parsley instead.
It will be delicious for the coming winter months – and its simplicity can serve as a perfect tonic to the insanity of the Thanksgiving feast you may have enjoyed.
Parsley walnut pesto
Parsley stays nice and green, no there is no need to blanch it. Toss it with hot pasta or just smear it onto toast. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for, I’m guessing, several months without trouble. If you plan to freeze it, I’d hold off on adding the cheese until you’re ready to use it.
1 1/2 cups walnuts
2 – 3 cloves garlic
Leaves from 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup walnut oil
1 – 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar
1/2 cup freshly grated aged pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
Salt to taste
In a large frying pan over medium high heat, toast walnuts, shaking the pan frequently until walnuts start to smell toasty good and take on a bit of color, 3 to 5 minutes. Take care not to let them darken too much in the pan – they will continue to toast up when you take them off the heat. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and let cool.
In a food processor or blender, pulse garlic until minced – scraping the sides down as needed. Add parsley leaves and pulse until reduced a bit. Add oil and lemon juice and whirl until fairly smooth.
Add walnuts and pulse until as smooth as you like (I prefer to have some chunks of walnut in there). Add cheese and pulse to combine. Taste and add salt as you like.