Walnut Pesto

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Maybe better than OG pesto…

I learned something new while preparing to write this post. I learned that Jody Williams has another restaurant in the West Village. A restaurant that somehow I had never heard of (whaaaat). I knew about Buvette, which has previously inspired some home cooked meals, and Via Carota, her collaboration with Rita Sodi. Somehow I missed Gottino, the oldest of the bunch and quite possibly the most understated. It has a cute patio and a long spacious bar. It looks very appetizing compared to the squished “bistro” seating I’ve endured at Buvette, all for the sake of their delicious tartinettes.

There are few foods items I enjoy more than tartinettes (also known as crostinis) – a crusty piece of toast topped with a creative combination of cheese, meat, and/or vegetables. This walnut pesto is one such creation and comes originally from Gottino, but is now served at Buvette as well. Having it at Buvette for the first time, I knew I would love it forever. The rendition Luke and I make at home is very nearly as good. If I could I would eat this for dinner often – several large spoonfuls on crispy toasts with just a simple mixed green salad. Unfortunately, Luke doesn’t consider walnut pesto tartinettes substantial enough for dinner. I encourage you to enjoy walnut pesto for lunch, happy hour, dinner, maybe even breakfast. Our recipe comes from Deb Perelman. I also love this succinct recipe writeup from The New York Times in 2008, which omits ingredient measurements. Jody Williams has been serving walnut pesto for nearly ten years! That is the strongest endorsement of this recipe’s deliciousness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional: toast and let cool)
  • 1/4 cup grated parm
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed or grated
  • fresh thyme (strip a few sprigs and give ’em rough chop)
  • salt, to taste
  • splash of red wine or sherry vinegar
  •  1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBS minced sun dried tomato (oil packed or dry will work, if using oil packed can go a little lighter on the olive oil)
  • sliced baguette

Directions:

  1. Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind walnuts, cheese, garlic, thyme, salt, and vinegar. Stir in olive oil and tomatoes.
  2. Toast your baguette slices (cut fairly thin, 1/2 inch or so). Heap a generous spoonful of pesto onto your warm slices and enjoy immediately.
  3. Pesto can be stored at room temp for up to a week.

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