We’ve all been there: feeling slightly guilty about the barely used bunch of fresh parsley lying in the refrigerator, hoping it hasn’t gone bad but wondering what in the world to do with it (and recalling similar feelings regarding beet greens). Though I used a generous handful of parsley for our linguine with clams a few nights earlier (um…make that a week and a half earlier), there was still no discernable dent in the bunch. In a desperate attempt to save this parsley from the compost bin, I made something that requires an entire bunch of parsley: pesto.
A simple pesto saved my parsley from the compost bin and transformed this typical garnish or finishing herb into the star of the table. Served over potatoes and white beans, the parsley pesto gave a refreshing spin to what is essentially a potato salad. The customizations for this pesto-based dish are endless: substitute basil or curly parsley for the flat-leaf parsley; use almonds or walnuts instead of pine nuts; serve the dish lukewarm or cold; etc. Whatever customizations you make, be sure to squeeze lots of fresh lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with chili flakes—this adds a zip you won’t want to miss.
4 cups flat-leaf parsley sprigs (I used curly-leaf parsely)
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ cup pine nuts (I used almonds)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound small (1- to 1½-inch) red or yellow waxy potatoes, halved
1- 15 oz. can white kidney or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Red chili pepper flakes, to sprinkle on top
Make the Potatoes and White Beans with Parsley Pesto
Cover potatoes with water in a medium pot and season well with salt, then boil until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and cool.
Meanwhile, pulse parsley with parmesan, nuts, garlic, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream, blending until incorporated and almost smooth.
Combine pesto, potatoes and white beans in a large bowl, stirring gently to coat. Squeeze lemon juice on top and sprinkle with chili flakes to taste.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.