The Dish | Parsley Pesto Pasta

This is a spin on regular pesto using the humble parsley. I made this for the first time recently, and was surprised how light and fresh it was. Don’t be thrown off by the anchovy — trust me here.

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley (about 4 oz.), 1″ trimmed off the bottom
  • 1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 tsp grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and set it near the stove. To the boiling water, add 1 T salt and drop in the parsley. Cook parsley until just wilted, about 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove parsley and add to the ice bath. Reduce heat on the boiling water and save to cook the pasta. 
  • Once the parsley is fully chilled, remove and squeeze water out until mostly dry. Roughly chop the parsley, then add to a blender with garlic, anchovy and oil. Puree on high, scraping down the sides to make sure the mixture is smooth and thick, 1 to 2 minutes. If you need more liquid, add 1 tsp of cold water at a time until the pesto is smooth.
  • Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta water, then drain pasta and return it to the pot.
  • Add the pesto and half a cup of the pasta water; cook over medium heat, vigorously tossing and stirring, until pesto clings to the spaghetti, about 2 minutes. 
  • Stir in the lemon zest and juice and toss in more pasta water 1 Tbs at a time to get the spaghetti well sauced. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve pasta drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with additional zest (and Parmesan cheese, if desired). I did not use cheese or the extra drizzle of oil and I thought it was delish.

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