Farfalle with Parsley, Lemon & Walnut Pesto
The Parsley Pesto
This is a fabulous pesto to make in winter when parsley is abundant rather than pretending its summer and we are all “Mediterraneo” in January. It also packs a massive iron, B vits (folates and all that) and antioxidant punch too so very good for veggies too. Here I have made a pasta dish but this green and potent elixir is delish spread on crostini (OK lets admit it “toast” and a dab oh yes just a dab of mayonnaise too) and I have also massaged it into chicken breasts to great effect (but dont quote me on that).
I first tasted this when a friend made a version in Aegean Turkey and although skeptical I was blown away by the honest robust flavours and how it made the pasta sing. It has its origins in all those wonderful sauces from Turkey and the Caucasus that use walnuts such as the Turkish “tarator” and Georgian “Satsivi” as well as the Italian “Pesto di Noce”. I include preserved lemon too as i like the lemony flavour without the bitterness. If you do not have preserved lemons then juice one lemon and also zest it. Romanian walnuts are legendary and I particularly enjoy making this with the new season nuts. The best are always bought at the market and roasting not only develops the flavour but eradicates unwanted visitors hiding in the crevices!
This is one of those recipes that is not so much a recipe as a suggestion of ingredients that when combined create something magical.
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon or half a preserved lemon skin only
- Quite a lot of garlic – 5- 6 cloves
- 150g walnuts
- 2 large bunches of flat leaf parsley
- Good olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Blitz all the pesto ingredients together and pour into a jar. To vary the consistency add more or less oil until it is dropping consistency ie will drop off a spoon rather than stick to it when turned upside down.
Farfalle with Pesto & Green Beans/ Courgettes/ Broccoli
Cook your pasta according to the instructions (I like the bows for this recipe but I cant really explain why). I particularly love this recipe with green beans – they have an affinity with the parsley and garlic and they remind me of a dish I ate many years ago in the South of France that was garlic with green beans dressesd with olive oil…well of course it was haricots verts with garlic but you get my drift. Chop and cook the veggies until done but not mushy (Brocoli and courgettes also work just great).
Drain the pasta
Stir the pesto through the pasta (I like quite a lot of pesto but start with one tablespoon per person and adjust if it looks less than you like)
Stir through the veggies gently until also lightly coated
Serve in plates sprinkled with fresh parmesan
As long as you cover with a little oil to seal the pesto and prevent oxidation this will sit happily in the fridge for approx 1 month. However it is at its best, most flavourful and the vitamins at their most potent when made fresh.
I have actually made this recipe with almonds…I have added breadcrumbs when nut rations were low and have used sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and corn oil in place of olive oil. I have not used walnut oil although that might work when you run out of walnuts! as I prefer a hint of the walnuts as opposed to walnuts being the predominant flavour.