As Jonathan Bloom notes in his book, American Wasteland: How America Wastes Nearly Half of Its Food (DaCapo Press), bunches of fresh herbs are among the most common items languishing in our refrigerator crispers. Chances are, you bought some fresh herbs, only needing to chop a tablespoon or so for a recipe, and tucked the rest away with every intention of using it up. Pesto is easy to improvise with whatever herbs you have on hand. In this version, sage and parsley provide the anchor for a hearty winter pesto. Serve it over pasta, as a condiment with roast poultry or fish, or spread over crusty bread.
1 dried red chile OR 1/8 teaspoon dried red chile pepper flakes
1/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds
1 garlic clove
3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 ounce)
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves (about 1/2 ounce)
1 plum tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese
Sea salt, to taste
Place the chile in a small bowl. Cover with hot water and let stand 15 minutes. (Skip this step if you’re using chile pepper flakes.) Drain.
Place chile, almonds and garlic in a food processor or blender; pulse until coarsely chopped. Add parsley, sage and tomato; pulse to coarsely chop. Add oil; pulse to combine. Add cheese; pulse 1-2 times or just until combined. Season with salt.
Yields about 3/4 cup
Improvise a seasonal pesto as an easy and delicious way to use up those extra herbs you have on hand.