Pesto #4: Mushroom Pesto

As we’ve seen this week, pesto comes in all colors. Green is the most popular color and red is a newcomer with its own distinct flavor. Mushroom pesto adds another. I don’t want to say brown but it’s the color of mushrooms.  This recipe uses both dried and fresh mushrooms. They both bring their own unique flavor and texture to the sauce. Dried porcini mushrooms are usually easy to find all year-round. They aren’t usually too cheap but if you can find them on sale they will keep for a while in your pantry. I even keep small cans of porcini and shiitake mushrooms in my pantry for any occasion as well. Try using them if you can’t find dried! This sauce is great on pasta but also just as good on toasted crostini (toasted bread slices)


1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered

1½ cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

½ cup toasted walnuts

2 garlic cloves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon salt, more to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste


1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the porcini mushrooms, press to submerge. Let stand until the mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the soaking liquid from the mushrooms and discard.

2. In a bowl of the food processor add the porcini mushrooms, button mushrooms, parsley, toasted walnuts, and garlic. With the machine still running, gradually add the oil, blending just until the mushrooms are finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Cover and refrigerate.

Makes about 1 cup and can be made 2 days ahead.

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