Verdi Pestate

Literally "Pounded Greens," this versatile sauce is massively flavorful and stupid easy. Use it to marinate protein, toss pasta in it, dress up hummus, stir it into yogurt for a fresh dip, make a mayo-free potato salad — I could go on and on with this. Yields about 2 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 6 good sized scallions
  • 8 big stalks of basil
  • 2 big stalks of rosemary
  • 12 stalks of thyme
  • 2 big stalks of oregano
  • ½ bunch of parsley (from stem to mid-bunch)
  • About 20 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 bunches fennel
  • 1 serrano chile
  • ½ lemon (halved widthwise is easiest)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • A big handful of arugula
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil, optional
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional

Equipment:

  • A food processor

Instructions:

  1. Top and tail the scallions, then chop. Pick the leaves from the basil and chop up the stems, discarding the bottom couple of inches. Strip the rosemary leaves and discard the stalks (or save for stock). Strip the thyme leaves and discard the stalks if woody. Strip the oregano leaves and discard the stalks. Chop the parsley from the stem to halfway up the bunch and save the leaves for garnish or stock. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Pluck the fronds from the fennel stalks. Dice the serrano with the seeds. Dice the half of lemon. Smash and peel the garlic.
  2. In a food processor, blitz the scallions, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, fennel fronds, chile, lemon, garlic, arugula, and salt for 3 minutes until a thick and homogenous paste is formed. Scrape down the sides, mix a little, and process another minute. Scrape into a bowl.
  3. If using as a marinade, you can add a tablespoon of brown sugar (trust me) and enough olive oil to help coat. If using as a sauce, add ¼ cup olive oil. This sauce will become less green over a matter of a couple of hours due to the lemon.