I first tasted cilantro pesto a few years back at August restaurant in New York. It came spread on toasted baguette as an accompaniment to a shared starter of steamed mussels; it was a revelation. I have been craving and making it religiously since then.
I toss it with pasta, spread it on bread, serve it with eggs, use it with crostini, and more. It’s really very versatile. But still, my strongest association with it is with mussels, and every time I make them I must have toasted baguette with cilantro pesto on the side. If you have that terrible hereditary thing where cilantro tastes like soap, then, well, I’m sorry for you. Everyone else, you’ll love this. —kmartinelli
Put the cilantro in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the garlic and pine nuts and pulse to combine. Add about half the olive oil and blend until a paste begins to form. Add remaining olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
Taste, season with salt and pepper, and add pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, salt or pepper as needed. Toss with pasta or serve on toasted bread.
A native New Yorker, I recently moved to Be'er Sheva, Israel with my husband while he completes medical school. I am a freelance food and travel writer and photographer who is always hungry and reads cookbooks in bed.