An Italian honours the IRISH with a green
PESTO recipe for St Patrick's Day.

Today, of all days...
I should have had something green planned from a typical Irish food standpoint.
Quite honestly though, being the week and all, time was tight.

Anyhow, if I were to make an authentic Irish recipe...
I feel that I would only do it justice by doing it right.

Through some research during the last 2 weeks...I realized that there were so many great interesting Irish foods that I should really experience making. With a little more time...I will certainly do so with specific dedication. For now, though...I'll stick to what I make best. Mostly Italian based fare with the usual few twists.
Therefore, not yet knowing what I was going to prepare for supper...I opened the fridge to be happily greeted by a beautiful bouquet of parsley. How great was this?
So, sure enough that was enough to get me going. I also was quite into having some carbs. Pasta would certainly hit the spot. Therefore, in a few quick minutes, I thought of making a parsley sun-dried tomato pesto. I put the kettle on to de-hydrate the dry tomatoes...and the pasta pot was filled...plucked a few parsley leaves and off I went creating something resembling a hint of something to commemorate the Irish symbolic color green.
Before, I go on with this very easy flavourful recipe...I thought of giving a very small summary dealing with the two main ingredients in this pesto.

PARSLEY... also known botanically as: Petroselinum Crispum.
The most familiar parsley used is the curly-leaved parsley as well as the plain flat leaved parsley which is sometimes called the 'French' or sometimes also called the 'Italian' parsley.
So, which is it, French or Italian? I feel a debate coming on. Being Italian myself...of course it must be named after our nationality. Right? Well, I guess the other party would say the same.  Well, really...as long as we can all get along on the fact that this flat parsley's flavour is what truly counts.
Curly parsley is the one that is the most primarily used due to its pretty garnishing appearance. However, if taste is what you're after...you're best to stick with the flat kind. It also has the properties of better refrigeration life. It is also regarded as being less bitter and does possess a fuller flavour. Lastly, flat parsley also contains about four times more essential oils than the curly variety.

Here, is a great TIP on how to keep your parsley FRESH longer:
Wash the parsley well by swishing it in a large bowl filled with cold water and a small pouring of white vinegar.
Use a tall plastic container...add a little bit of cold water.  Then, add the pre-washed parsley (most of the stem part cut-off)...then cover. This will create a hermetic environment for the herb to keep its freshness.  I do this with the 'Mint' herb as well.  Do not forget to make sure that ALL the very short stems are in the water.  Essentially, the water will need to be changed every other day. Note: For those who are wondering...unfortunately this does not work as well with Basil ;( 

Sun Dried Tomatoes are ripe tomatoes which are placed in the sun to remove most of the water content. Twenty pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes will dry down to just one pound of sun dried tomatoes. 
Sun dried tomatoes have the same nutritional value as fresh tomatoes. They are high in Lycopene, antioxidants, vitamin C and low in sodium, fat, and calories.

Sun dried tomatoes were born in Italy as a way to store fresh tomatoes for the winter. Fresh tomatoes would be dried in the hot sun on the tile roofs as a way to preserve them for the cold months. Today they are still dried in the sun, but in much larger quantities and under strict quality controls." photo: sporkandknife.net and reference notes from: sun-dried-tomatoes.com.

I remember as a young girl...seeing these bright red aromatic ' Roma' tomato slices drying in the dead heat of day.

Later we used to string them and have them hung in a dark, dry place in order to keep the vibrant color.

Today, I rely on my sense of smell to lead me to the proper purchase of quality dried tomatoes.

photo: motoadventures.org

PESTO sauce
serves: 4 persons

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(American / Metric measures)

. 12 sun-dried tomatoes
. 1 cup (250ml) boiling water
. 4 cups (180g) parsley (flat leaved)
. 3/4 cup (175ml) oils: [half of each from both olive oil and grape seed oil (or canola)]
. 1 large garlic clove (minced)
. 1/2 cup (100g) roasted chopped almonds

Seasoning and Cheeses:
. 1 tsp. (5ml) sea salt
. 1 tsp. (5ml) dried herb: basil
. 1/2 cup (60g) grated cheese: Parmigiano 'Reggiano'
. 1/2 cup (60g) grated cheese: Pecorino 'Romano'
note: some more cheese can be grated on top of the pasta dish

If serving with pasta or other suitable dish:
For the below mentioned recipe...add the following:
. 1/2 pkg. (250g) of ' linguini ' pasta (for 2 persons)
. 1/2 reg. can of pitted black olives (sliced)
. 1/2 reg. can of rinsed red kidney beans (or similar choice)


1. Place the dried tomatoes into a small bowl. Pour the boiling water and cover with a plate for about 15 minutes or until they have completely de-hydrated. Do not discard the water. Do set it aside to cool for later use as it will be added into the blender.  Note: Oil packed sundried tomatoes (well drained) can also be used.
2. Meanwhile, wash parsley carefully.  Chop the longest part of the stems...spin the remainder with a salad dryer or just pat dry.
3. Pluck the leaves off the stems until you accumulate about 4 cups tightly piled.
4. Place the parsley into the blender all together with the remaining ingredients (except for the water).
5. Pulsate the blender a few times before turning it on continuously. This will turn out a slightly thick looking paste. Shut the blender...add the water slowly...and continue blending until a smooth creamy pesto sauce consistency is achieved.
Note: The pesto is now ready to either use right away or to preserve into small mason jars. This will keep very well for at least two weeks in the refrigerator or up to about 3 months in the freezer.
Tip: if wanting to store into the fridge...pour a small amount of olive oil on the surface. It will keep better that way.

Pasta Dish Preparation:
My absolutely preferred choice is mixing this aromatic pesto with pasta.

In the above pasta dish:
1. Boil the 'linguine' in salted water.   
2. One minute before the pasta is done, add the sliced olives and beans to the pot also. 
3. Strain all of it out into a large bowl and add the pesto sauce.
. Serve each plate with an extra sprinkle of grated cheese.

I've also tried it successfully on other cooked grains...
vegetables and meats with satisfying results.

Happy St Patty's day and flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.

OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

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