I came up with this recipe a few years ago, when I’d had a bumper-harvest of mint. It’s truly heavenly, and not as minty as you might think. Along with the mint, I add parsley, meaty walnuts, a bit of lemon zest to balance the flavors, garlic (a must), Parmesan and my favorite roasted walnut oil from La Tourangelle. All this makes a deliciously creamy and incredibly luxurious pesto.
Of course, I’ve served this pesto with pasta — that’s the obvious choice. But I’ve also paired it with goat cheese ravioli (sublime!), grilled vegetables, fried eggs, pizza… and even though I’m a veg, I can imagine it with pan-seared fish or grilled chicken kebabs. The possibilities seem endless.
makes 1 1/2 cups
active time: 15 min
- 2 teaspoons sea salt for blanching the mint
- 1 bunch fresh mint (2 oz) (55 g) – leaves removed from stems
- 1 bunch Italian parsley (3 oz) (85 g) – bottom/tough stems trimmed
- 2 large garlic cloves – skinned
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces (2 oz) (55 g)
- 1/3 cup finely grated Reggiano or Grana Padano Parmesan
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon (2 teaspoons) – use microplane grater
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 cup roasted walnut oil
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Step 1: Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes.
- Step 2: Bring 8 cups of water to a fast boil. Add the salt and mint leaves and blanch for 10 seconds only. Immediately remove from boiling water and place in ice water bath. Once cooled, drain and squeeze leaves as dry as possible and lay on a paper towel.
- Step 3: Coarsely chop the mint with scissors. Place the mint pieces and the balance of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 2 minutes until it forms a creamy paste, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cook’s note: This pesto is best used the day it’s made but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.