]We have certainly been having some beautiful fall weather and I feel obligated to enjoy it with the kids outside before it gets too cold. The trouble is, when we finally make it home it is much too late to cook anything too involved and I have to scramble to get something on the table that will satisfy everyone (except Claudine, who is getting her 2 year molars and has been even pickier than normal). Pasta is usually a safe bet. This time I remembered that I had chorizo and olives on hand and decided that would be a nice change from boring old tomato sauce. So I mixed that with some caramelized onions and shells, but it looked a little boring and dry. I dug a little deeper into the fridge. I found a bunch of Italian parsley and thought about making pesto. So into the blender it went, but then it looked a bit too watery. It needed some thickening so I searched for some nuts in the cupboard. I never seem to have any nuts when I make pesto, especially the traditional pine nuts, but it seems that this was shaping up to be no ordinary pesto. I always have hazelnuts so in they went. The texture tightened up and the hazelnut flavor turned out to be a great match for the parsley. Next time I might even use some kind of nut oil instead of olive oil to further heighten the nut flavor. It was great with the pasta and just as good the next day with cold pasta in a pasta salad. This is officially my favorite kind of pesto.
Parsley and Hazelnut Pesto (makes about one cup)
1 bunch Italian Parsley, washed, dried and roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine everything in a blender and process to a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the texture is too thin for you, blend in some extra hazelnuts; if it is too thick blend in some extra olive oil. Serve with anything you might serve any other pesto with: pasta, bruschetta, sandwhiches, etc.