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Parsley Pesto Pasta

Using parsley instead of basil in this Parsley Pesto Pasta recipe creates a flavorful pasta that’s bolder and herbaceous than your average pesto.

Parsley Pesto Pasta

Parsley Pesto Pasta—say that three times fast. If that’s not enough of a challenge, try saying “Parsley Pesto Pasta for people with a penchant for potlucks.” Not to brag, but I’m currently the reigning champion of family night tongue twisters. I’m also the reigning champion of eating pesto! Pesto is one of my favorite pasta dishes and I’m always in search of ways to change it up.

Traditional pesto is made of basil leaves, which have a slightly sweet taste with hints of mint, anise, and black pepper. Parsley leaves, while also vibrantly green, have a different flavor — the hint of pepper remains, but it trades the slight sweetness for earthy bitterness instead. Using it in pesto, the change is obvious and still very tasty! The pasta will have a stronger “green” or grassy taste, but it still retains the bright flavor of traditional pesto. Some may prefer one or the other, but I love both equally. They’re also both very nutritious, containing a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

When you have a huge batch of parsley from the garden and don’t know what to do with it, making pesto is a surefire (and tasty) way to use it up. You can make the pesto sauce in a food processor and it only takes a few minutes. You don’t have to confine yourself to just pasta, either — pesto is wonderfully versatile, and you can use it as a sandwich filling or a pizza topping, or an addition to breakfast scrambles, lasagna, hummus, cream sauces, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, soups, salads, and more. The only limit is your imagination!

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Parsley Pesto Pasta

Parsley Pesto Pasta

Using parsley instead of basil in this Parsley Pesto Pasta recipe creates a flavorful pasta that’s bolder and more herbaceous than your average pesto.

  • Author: Norann Oleson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Category: Entrées

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound fettuccini
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Rinse parsley well and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Remove stems from parsley and place parsley leaves in a food processor.
  3. Add garlic, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice to food processor.
  4. Pulse food processor until all the garlic has been minced.
  5. Slowly add olive oil through food processor spout, while continuing to pulse.
  6. Scrape inside of food-processor bowl, as needed, and continue pulsing until mixture is fully smooth.
  7. Season pesto with salt, to taste.
  8. Cook fettuccini according to package instructions.
  9. Before draining fettuccini, reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.
  10. Drain pasta, let cool for 5 minutes, then return pasta to the cooking pot.
  11. Add pesto to fettuccini and stir to coat.
  12. Add pasta water, as needed, to smooth out pesto mixture.
  13. Serve warm.

Parsley is a must-have herb for any kitchen—and every cook should have fresh parsley available to chop at all times. With our How to Grow Parsley Gardening Guide, you’ll have everything you need to know about growing and enjoying this essential herb!

Have you tried this Parsley Pesto Pasta recipe? It’s so easy and flavorful—please tell us how it turned out for you.

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