Parsley is a sleeper.
It may grow like gang busters, but not something I’d ever viewed as a main ingredient to, well, anything.
I was wrong.
A few days ago, last Friday to be exact, I made my way — read: a few stockinged-feet — to my apartment balcony to the place where my garden grows.
It is a veritable jungle out there, thirty-five square feet of sunflower, chive, rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, lavender, Frontenac grape-growing mania.
Parsley grows there too, and though I go out there regularly to do my plant tending-to, I somehow failed to notice that that baby duck of a plant had grown into a bona-fide swan. A big, overgrown swan. That. Needed. Some. Serious. Pruning.
So, I whipped out those clippers and got to it. Ten minutes later, what I ended up with was a lot of parsley without a clue as to what to do with it.
Parsley is at best, a pretty, sort-of edible plate decoration, right?
Always up for a culinary
obsession challenge, I set out to prove that misnomer wrong. I whipped up a frenzy in my small kitchen, and came out with something surprisingly fresh, super flavorful, and not even a bit edible-plate-decoration.
This, my friends, is my solution for you if you find yourself, like me, with too much parsley and a hankering for something light, fresh, quick, and balls-out satisfying.
Lovelies, meet Parsley-Arugula Pesto with Pasta and Crispy Bacon.
It’s all peppery and light, hearty and silky. The bacon and walnuts give it a smoky, meaty depth, the balsamic vinegar a hint of savory sweetness, and I promise, whip this up, and you’ll never look at parsley as a second-class veggie citizen again.
And it doesn’t get much easier. It all starts with a bunch of raging parsley, some peppery arugula, loads of garlic, and walnuts, beautiful walnuts…
Giving it a good whirl, adding the cheese, whirling again, and then, instead of the traditional lemon juice, adding in some savory-sweet balsamic vinegar instead. Now we’re cooking!
Giving it another quick whirl or two, and you begin to notice it slowly coming together — like magic.
Then, as your little processor hums along, drizzle in some extra-virgin olive oil, and quicker than you can say, “Parsley!” you’ve got pesto — parsley-arugula pesto.
Fold in a whole bunch with some pasta, plenty of divine bacon on top, and what have you got? Pesto heaven.
Parsley? Sleeper no more.
Parsley-Arugula Pesto with Pasta and Crispy Bacon
Makes 2 generous servings with plenty of pesto left over
For the Pesto:
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, tightly packed
1 cup arugula, tightly packed
3 cloves garlic, peeled (or 2, if you don’t prefer it so “garlic-y”)
1/2 cup raw organic walnut halves
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
For the Rest:
4 strips uncured, nitrate-free bacon, cooked
8 ounces uncooked egg noodles or fettuccine, dry or fresh
Combine parsley, arugula, garlic, walnuts in a food processor. Process on high speed for about 15-20 seconds or until mixture starts to come together and become smooth, scraping sides of bowl with spatula, as needed.
Add Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse a few times until well combined.
Next, add the balsamic vinegar and pulse until combined.
On low speed, drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil with the motor running, and process until smooth. Salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Prepare noodles or pasta according to package directions and drain. Place back in pot and add a generous three tablespoons of pesto mixture and with large spoon or tongs, mix well. Add more or less pesto, according to preference.
Divide pasta among two dinner plates, and crumble two slices of prepared bacon over each. Serve immediately.
Leftover pesto lasts 3-4 days covered in refrigerator.
Please share, comment, and enjoy!
- Parsley Pesto Toasts with Radishes (emmycooks.com)