Summer is pesto time, at least in my house. Almost every green leaf I can get my hands on, from basil and parsley to carrot tops and kale, will get a whirl in the food processor with the requisite garlic, nuts, cheese, and olive oil over the course of the season. Yet despite my willingness to push pesto boundaries, I've never slipped in anchovies and green olives. This idea, from Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer's Canal House Cooks Every Day, was a revelation. As is often the case with the tiny fish, you can't really taste the anchovies in the final pesto. Instead, they add a deep savoriness and complexity to the herby mash-up. The green olives up the savory briny factor as well, making this pesto something akin to Italian salsa verde.
Why I picked this recipe: I'm always looking for something new to up my pesto game.
What worked: Mixing basil with heartier parsley was the right choice to pair with the intense anchovies and olives.
What didn't: No problems in sight.
Suggested tweaks: This pesto was designed for smearing on steak (recipe coming tomorrow), so it is tighter than most pestos used for pasta. If you want to skip the steak and go straight for the carbs, increase the amount of olive oil to 1/2 cup. You will probably also want to add some of the pasta cooking water when tossing the pasta with the sauce to further loosen the pesto.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.