It happens to me all the time and I suspect it happens to you too, because surely I cannot be the only one. I’m standing in the grocery store with my scribbled list, or these days it’s more likely to be a typed list on my iPhone, staring at an ingredient for a recipe questioning whether I really need it. Usually it’s something obscure or highly perishable that I only need a tiny amount of. I do a cost versus benefit analysis in my head. Usually I cave and buy it, worrying that if I don’t the dish will be nothing more than a whisper of its full self and I’ll wonder if it had been better if I had just bought that one ingredient.
There is generally one exception though, one ingredient that I routinely skip without regret – parsley. I’m sure there are some hardcore fans out there, because aren’t there hardcore fans of just about everything, so I am sorry to have offended you. But most of the time this ingredient just isn’t worth it for me. Sure a little sprinkled on top makes my photos pop or adds a nice vegetal flavor, but mostly I’m indifferent. Generally I buy it and forget to use it, or use just a tad and find it shriveled and sad in my vegetable drawer a week later. So when I bought it to make Fettucine Carbonara it was highly out of character. However, the dish had so few ingredients that I knew it was worth it and that it would go a long way to balance the richness of the sauce. So I found myself in posession of almost full bunch of parsley and a determination for once not to let it go to waste.
So I did the typical thing that most food bloggers seem to do when faced with an excess of herbs – I made pesto. I don’t expect you to be wowed by this. It’s not amazing or creative, but I thought it was worth mentioning because while basil, cilantro, and the like usually scream pesto to me, I often forget that parsley works as well. The result is as delicious as it is industrious. It’s clean and fresh and would be as lovely over fresh fish or chicken as it is atop pasta. I mixed mine with some homemade peas and bacon for a lovely spring dish.
Adaped from MyRecipes.com
Yields 1/2 cup
-2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley
-1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, or more to reach desired texture
-1 tablespoon Chile Crunch, optional, but can you tell I’m addicted?
-Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
What about you – do you typically buy every ingredient a recipe calls for or are there things you regularly skip because you doubt if you would use them again or find them expensive?