Having sprung forward an hour last weekend, all the delights of spring and summer produce do not seem so far away, but my optimism has suffered with the cold temperatures and snowflakes. They are a reminder that even though we are making progress with more day lit evenings those first few weeks of farmers market season in Chicago in May will be sparse leaving us desperate for June.
Last summer we had two pots of basil growing on our sun-filled back deck, and we ate pesto by the jarful. Longing for the days of endless herby pasta, I substituted parsley and walnuts for basil and pine nuts. A generous squeeze of lemon added a much-needed bright zip. Parsley is a fraction of the cost of basil and is more readily available making it an ideal alternative for pesto.
Fettuccine with Parsley Walnut Pesto
Adapted from Everyday Food March 2009
3/4 pound fettuccine
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups fresh parsley
1/4 cup walnuts plus more chopped for serving
1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus more for serving
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Cook the fettuccine in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (about 1 minute less than packet instructions). Drain reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
Finely chop the garlic in a food processor. Add the parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and process into a paste. While the food processor is running, pour the olive oil in a fine stream until the pesto is smooth.
Transfer the pesto to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cooked pasta tossing to coat. Drizzle in the reserved pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce. Top with walnuts and grated Parmesan before serving.