Il pesto……. ma di sedano.

My (Celery) Pesto

I use celery as a secondary ingredient quite often: in tomato sauce, in preparing all kinds of stock, as part of cold finger food or vegetable crudités, as well as in salads, caponata, the list goes on. When I started experimenting with different pesto recipes however, celery turned out to also be a fantastic primary ingredient, which was truly a wonderful surprise. My surprise was mainly due to two factors: the first being that most of the times I buy a full head of celery I only end up using a few stalks, as the bulky nucleus ages ungracefully in the fridge. It felt strange to for once be putting the entire thing to use! 

The taste was the second, and biggest, surprise: the sharp and fresh zing of celery, when complimented by mint leaves and lemon zest, creates a mouth-watering and sharply sweet pesto. Much like a standard pesto, Celery Pesto works great with hot or cold pasta dishes (I have for example used it to delicious effect both with cold Sardinian Fregola and hot trofie, details below!)

Here is how I made it!

Ingredients:

For 500 gr. of trofie pasta

1 heart of celery (including the tiny leaves)

4 celery stalks (also including a couple of leaves)

10 walnuts

4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese

Half a garlic clove

Half a lemon (grated zest)

A handful of fresh mint leaves

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil to taste

Method:

Wash all of the celery and strip away the external fibres. Chop the celery and add it to the food blender with the walnuts and the rest of the ingredients. Add olive oil until the mix reaches a creamy consistency. Done! At this point I would drain the pasta and mix the pesto in, adding some more grated lemon zest and mint leaves to taste.

Cold – With Fregola:

Once the fregola and the Pesto cooled down, I added some chopped fennel, the fresh mint and the lemon zest. It turned out great! I’ll admit that the color wasn’t very inviting, that is because I only used a few of the green celery leaves: add more leaves for a greener Pesto! The taste was fantastic though, great on a warm day.