Stirring in nuts, cheese refines pesto’s texture

My latest podcast makes the case for taking a few extra minutes, and utensils, to make pesto.

Adding the grated cheese and chopped nuts to a separate bowl before stirring in the herb paste is a method I learned years ago from a former outreach assistant at Ashland Food Co-op. Maria Katsantones’ recipe for Seasonal Pesto has been my guide ever since. As I explained in my podcast, the resulting sauce has more refined texture and distinctive flavor than when all the ingredients are pureed together.

But there’s more than one way to make a better-textured pesto. This one from the Chicago Tribune calls for adding toasted walnuts at the recipe’s conclusion and just pulsing the food processor a few times, which leaves the pesto chunky, the nuts prominent. And like Maria’s recipe, it makes good use of parsley, typically abundant when basil is not.

Consider using vegetables tops, the subject of this blog’s previous post, and other cold-hardy herbs in Winter Pesto.

Tribune News Service

Winter Pesto

With food processor running, drop 3 peeled cloves garlic down chute, one by one, buzzing garlic to bits. Add 2 cups (loosely packed) parsley leaves with tender stems, 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. Pulse a few times. With motor running, drizzle in 1/3 cup olive oil, swirling into a thick sauce.

Tumble in 1 cup toasted walnuts. Pulse a few times, leaving pesto chunky.

Toss pesto in a serving bowl with 1 pound cooked spaghetti. Makes 6 first-course servings.

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