You could just as easily throw the all the contents into the food processor to make this a puréed pesto. I do it in batches because I like having a more control over the size of each component. It’s a little more work but the end result is a more textured pesto that holds up to pasta, fish or chicken.
Serves 4 / Makes about 1 ¼ cups
2 oz parmesan, cut into small chunks, divided
½ cup walnuts
½ cup castelvetrano olives, pitted, torn
2 cups basil leaves, packed
½ cup parsley leaves, loosely packed
½ cup arugula, loosely packed
¼ cup chives, coarsely chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more
½ lemon, zested then juiced
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
Pinch red chile flake
Place parmesan in a food processor and pulse until cheese resembles wet coarse sand. Remove half to a medium bowl and reserve the other half in a small bowl for topping. Add walnut to food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand, remove to medium bowl with cheese. Place olives in processor and pulse until olives are coarsely chopped into ¼” pieces, some smaller and bigger pieces are ok too. Place them in the bowl with walnuts and parmesan. Add basil, parsley, arugula and chives to processor bowl. Drizzle ¼ cup oil while pulsing until mixture is finely chopped but not puréed. Add herb mixture to bowl with olive mixture then add lemon zest, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, garlic, and chile flake, stir to combine. Add olive oil until desired consistency and season with salt to taste. Serve over your favorite pasta (or fish or chicken) and top with reserved parmesan cheese.
Other toppings could be thinly sliced chives, shallot flowers, fennel pollen, chopped toasted nuts….