The Secret Ingredient (Parsley): Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto Recipe

The Secret Ingredient

Every month we highlight a different ingredient and share weekly recipes that showcase its uses.

The Secret Ingredient (Parsley): Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto Recipe

[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

There are funky pestos out there, pestos where basil isn't the star. Arugula pesto. Spinach pesto. I've even made a tarragon pesto. But I've never seen a pesto that has put parsley at center stage, and really celebrated what parsley's all about: grassy light freshness.

This pesto is made simply from parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, olive oil, and garlic--more garlic than usual because parsley can really take the flavor. Toss that with hot spaghetti, and nestle it down as a side next to some charred and grilled sliced steak. It's different and light and summery and fresh. Nobody puts parsley in the corner!

  • Yield:makes 4 to 6 servings
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:15 minutes


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 3-ounce bunches of flat leaf parsley
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. 1.

    Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, and reserve a cup of pasta water.

  2. 2.

    Blast the garlic in the food processor until it’s smashed. Add the parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whiz until it forms a thick paste.

  3. 3.

    Toss the pasta with the pesto, and add reserved pasta water as needed. Serve right away. You can also spoon the pesto over grilled steak.