May 22, 2008

Walnut-Parsley Pesto with Pasta

eiriene, May 20, 2008, comment in “Playing With Your Food”

I could swear that you mentioned a walnut-parsley pesto somewhere, but I couldn’t find a recipe for it, so I thought I’d share the one I made last night with you. The measurements are mostly approximate, but I guessed based on other recipes I found online and it came out really well.

Walnut-Parsley Pesto with Pasta

1/4 cup walnut halves
1 bunch italian, flat-leaf parsley (about 1-1.5 cups packed)
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded (I microplaned, but you could grate too)
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1 lb. of pasta

1. In a dry skillet, toast the walnut halves over medium heat. This should only take a minute or two, and it’s important to keep them moving, as they will burn easily. As soon as they look done, take them off the heat and out of the pan. If you come across one or two burnt ones, just pick them out and dispose of them.

2. Wash parsley and cut off stems with a kitchen scissor. Pat dry.

3. Peel cloves of garlic and cut off the inedible ends of them.

4. Boil a decently salted pot of water for the pasta. I used linguine last night, but any pasta should do decently. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto, as in step five.

5. Place the clean parsley, the toasted walnuts, the grated cheese, and the cloves of garlic in a food processor. Run the processor for about thirty seconds to a minute to finely chop everything (you want it VERY fine), and then, while the food processor is running, start to drizzle in olive oil through the feed tube. Add as much oil as you like, until it gets to the desired thickness. I used about a quarter cup of oil, since the pesto will be thinned out next.

6. By this point, the pasta should have finished cooking. Reserve one cup of the liquid that the pasta has cooked in, since it’ll be used to thin the sauce out. It’s very important that you use the pasta water instead of regular hot water, as the pasta water has released starch in it. Anyway, drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add in the pesto, which should be thick, and then dump the pasta water in the pot too. Stir liberally to mix and thin out the pesto enough that it’ll coat all the pasta. Add as much salt and pepper to taste, at this point, as you like.

7. Serve with some more fresh Parmesan cheese on top, either grated or shredded.

It’s a very fresh and green dinner; it made me feel like spring. =)

Drop cookies

eiriene, 19 April 08, comment to ‘food heroine’

Anyway, the long-promised recipe for cookies made with oil! I’m typing it in as it was passed down to me from my mother’s family, with my own notes in brackets.

400 degrees F
Bake 8-10 min

2 eggs
2/3 cup oil [I like using a freshly-opened bottle]
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp grated lemon rind
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Beat eggs with fork until well blended. Stir in oil, vanilla, and lemon rind. Blend in sugar until mixture thickens. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt–add to egg mixture. (Dough will be soft) Drop by teaspoonful about 2″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Stamp each cookie flat with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. (Lightly oil glass, then dip in sugar)

[I’ve found that when I make the recipe, the dough is always too soft for flattening with a glass to be really effective. I just make them as drop cookies, and end up sprinkling some sanding sugar on top, for decorative purposes. They’re less uniform, but just as tasty.]

3 dozen cookies–3″ in diameter

Addendum by eiriene on 22 April, as comment to ‘More guest blogging!…’

I usually use either canola oil or vegetable oil for the drop cookies recipe. They’re both really mild. I suppose you could use peanut oil, but it might give it a nutty taste. It might be an interesting experiment though, to make them with walnut or almond oil, instead of a neutral-tasting oil, to see how well the nut flavor goes with the lemon in the cookies. I’m thinking almond more than walnut though.

Comment by Robin, to the above, on 22 April:

Calling all experimenters. :) Yes, I like the idea of trying a nut oil. I put a few drops of toasted sesame oil in all kinds of things for that background tang.