Basil and Parsley Pesto with Anchovies from 'Canal House Cooks Every Day'


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.

Reprinted with permission from Canal House Cooks Every Day by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer Copyright 2012. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Recipe Details

Basil and Parsley Pesto with Anchovies from 'Canal House Cooks Every Day'

Active 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Makes 1 cup


  • 2 loosely packed cups basil leaves
  • 2 loosely packed cups fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/4–1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 3 anchovy filets
  • 1/4 cup really good extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Purée the basil, parsley, garlic, green olives, and anchovies with the olive oil in a food processor. Add the Parmigiano and pulse a couple of times. Transfer to a small bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto to keep it from turning dark until using.