28 May 2012

Parsley & Walnut Pesto

Pasta with egg and bacon on top...not for the weak of heart (or those on cholesterol medication)

We got home from Seattle late this morning after our first (awesome) experience taking the Bolt Bus for a whopping $21 total (for both of us...such a great deal). I had planned to make something simple, like pasta, since I figured we'd be tired after a weekend with the family. Being Memorial Day, it seems somewhat unpatriotic to not grill, but with the weather around here, you take a risk trying to grill on a holiday. Well, this pasta turned out to be anything but ordinary, but still managed to be simple in its own way.

I started looking for a parsley pesto recipe last week as we had some leftover parsley and I am notorious for letting good herbs go bad. It's so frustrating. I think about doing the rational thing--chopping them up and freezing them into ice cubes for later use in soups and stews--but my procrastination gene kicks in and I let it rot in the bag until it's so congealed I can't even bare to take it out to throw into the compost. I'm such a bad Portland hippie. After perusing some recipes online, I ended up going back to my old reliable, Cook's Illustrated. This also meant that the bunch of parsley that I bought when I was going to use another recipe will take over the old parsley's place decomposing in the bottom of our veggie drawer. Anyway...

Turns out I was tired and it took all I had to get myself into the kitchen to prepare dinner. Lucky for me, I have a husband who likes to contribute where he can, so he prepared some salad to balance out this quite rich and artery-clogging meal while I prepped the main course. While I would like to call this a "30-minute meal" because it's catchier and seems easier than "40-minute meal," I know people (like my sister) hate it when a recipe claims to take 30 minutes, but that only means 30 minutes of cooking, never mind the prep. So, 40-minute meal it is.

For some extra protein and flavor, I fried up some pancetta from our amazing German deli down the road, Edelweiss, and threw on a fried egg (fried in some of the pancetta fat, of course...why waste all that good fat??). The combination of egg yolk, bacon, and creamy pesto was a nice meal to end an overall wonderful weekend. Just makes me wish I could spend another day recovering, though.

Happy Memorial Day!

Portland's newest catch phrase...Put an egg on it

Toasted Nut & Parsley Pesto
Cook's Illustrated
Makes 1 1/2 cups, enough for 1 lb of pasta
Note that when adding any pesto to cooked pasta it is important to include three or four tablespoons of the cooked pasta water for proper consistency and even distribution. This pesto can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days if covered with a sheet of plastic wrap or a thin film of oil.

3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled 1 cup pecans (walnuts, whole blanched almonds, skinned hazlenuts, unsalted pistachios, or pine nuts, or any combination thereof)
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves (packed), washed and dried thoroughly
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Toast garlic in small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until softened and spotty brown, about 8 minutes; when cool, remove and discard skins.
2. Toast nuts in medium dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. In workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process garlic, nuts, parsley, and oil until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down sides of bowl. Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper.


  1. This looks so delicious... and a great way to use up fresh herbs, which I admit, I too totally let decompose in the bottom of my crisper. And really, you can pretty much put an egg on anything and call it a meal as far as I'm concerned!

    1. Agreed on all parts. I'm just starting to discover the joy of eggs on pasta. I'm not a huge pasta and red sauce fan, but I've been throwing together random things in pasta and putting an egg on top, which usually makes it that much better. Faux sauce. :)