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Nov 9, 2007 03:50 PM

Pasta with Parsley? Help!

A month or so ago, I had a starter pasta at a restaurant that was basically just pasta, chopped parsley and a little butter/olive oil. It was incredible. I have been trying to replicate it and can't quite get it. Does anyone make something like this? Would you use flat leaf or curled parsley? Olive oil or butter?

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  1. flat leaf. always flat leaf.

    combination of butter AND olive oil.

    a hint of minced garlic.

    salt & freshly ground black pepper.

    top with freshly grated or shaved pecorino or parmigiano-reggiano, and finish off with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

    5 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I would heat some mashed garlic cloves in olive oil, remove when they are browned, then toss with Italian (flat leaf) parsley, and parmesan and salt and pepper as needed.

      1. re: MMRuth

        I too agree with the garlic and the flat leaf parsley. However, I'm with Ruth in that I would use olive oil. Make sure to put some of the pasta cooking water in it as well.

        1. re: Miss Needle

          agree with all of the above (esp about flat parsley)
          and would like to add that (fresh, homemade) bread crumbs would not be out of place here.
          the quality of the olive oil used at the restaurant is another thing that may be standing between you and the recreation. something so simple is really about the ingredients.

          1. re: pitu

            I love the bread crumb idea - I recenlty made a gnocchi dish with sauteed bread crumbs and they added a wonderful crunch. Or did you fresh, w/o being sauteed.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Absolutely sauteed -- I meant fresh breadcrumbs, as opposed to the flavored kind in a jar
              It's the poor man's parmigianno

    2. Thanks, more question..I can chop the parsley in a food processor or a mini-prep, or is it significantly better to do it by hand? If so, sliced or finely chopped?

      8 Replies
      1. re: Tom P

        I think it should be just roughly chopped, so if it were I, I would just chop it with a knife - don't think you need to much.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Just had to add this and you may already know: parsley is VERY healthy for you (parsley and cilantro are my favorite fresh herbs) so eat as much as you can--

          1. re: Val

            this is a good way to get some vitamins into a lot of dishes. I go through a lot of parsley. A few tablespoons of chopped parsley brightens up a dish and makes it healthier to boot

            1. re: MVNYC

              Yes, I agree. I totally think parsley is underrated for health benefits and for taste. It seems that a lot of people use it just for garnish. I love to put tons of parsley in my aglio olio pasta. It's not the same without it.

        2. re: Tom P

          chop parsley only by hand. processors destroy parsley (i wish it weren't so when making tabbouleh!)

          i saw other herbs mentioned below. i know mario says fresh mint is used frequently in roman cookery, too.

          1. re: alkapal

            alkapal -- how do you make your tabbouleh? I tried a batch a few weeks ago, and it sat untouched in the fridge. We just didn't feel compelled to go near it. Mine needs some **oooomph** -- ideas? thanks!

            1. re: foxy fairy

              foxy fairy, my former lebanese law partner used a huge bunch of regular curly leaf parsley (NOT flat leaf), stemmed, and chopped finely. add lots of fresh chopped mint, green onion, too. finely chopped tomato. lemon juice. evoo (optional, but better, imo). use medium bulgur -- fine is too fine, imo, and makes a denser salad. soak bulgur in hot water for a 1/2 hour. drain well. toss with the veggie/herb mix. add salt and pepper. can drizzle with olive oil (little bit, but not necessary).

              imo, most people use too much bulgur. ratio should be that salad looks overwhelmingly green when completely assembled. and add enough lemon juice. do in steps, tasting. maybe also add bulgur in steps to get a ratio you like.

              ps, wash greens really well to get grit/sand out of parsley (use the soak in water tub method, like old time spinach required). then, make sure they are all DRY. they stay nice and separate. if damp, you get green goo. and don't forget salt. critical.

          2. re: Tom P

            It is kind of a pain to clean all of that stuff when a knife is much easier. A good rough chop works well in this case. If you don't have too much experience chopping parsely, wash before hand to get out any possible grit, then dry completely. you can use paper towels to speed this up. Parsely like other herbs is much easier to chop while dry.

          3. I'd vote for a little finely chopped, well-sautéed onion with your garlic, then add the flat leaf parsley to the oil after the onion and garlic are well cooked. My mother used to make this. I think she'd sometimes combine the chopped parsley with a little chopped basil, and add a little extra olive oil to the pasta. I'd vote for a combination of butter and olive oil for the sautéing.

            1. Tom, if you liked the olive oil/parsley with pasta, then you'll love this recipe I found at epicurious this summer: Mostly I leave out the tuna and serve it alongside salmon - the parsley is fantastic, and is balanced by the lemon zest and capers. I use a nice unfiltered olive oil which has a peppery finish.

              1. Thanks so much, everyone. I kind of winged it, incorportating all the advice (save breadcrumbs, only because I was out of them - I almost always have fresh - so next time I will include them, I know it will be even better).

                It came out beautifully - a couple of people were over and were amazed that pasta and parsely could taste so wonderful. Dr. Greg, I will for sure try your suggestion as well, sounds excellent.

                Thanks again, I love this site and the people on it.