Tag Archives: Pesto

Roast Leg of Lamb with Parsley Walnut Pesto #SundaySupper

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Happy Easter!! Today our Sunday Supper theme is Passover and/or Easter dishes – very apropos, don’t you think? It really got me thinking about how we celebrated Easter growing up, particularly the edible part.

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Where I’m from, you can always count on two dishes making an appearance on every Easter table: deviled eggs, and glazed ham. While I have come quite far in expanding my palate and recovering from picky eating, I’m still only human. I don’t like everything out there. Thanksgiving stuffing, for one. You know what else I can’t stand?

Glazed ham.
And deviled eggs.
Those are seriously two of my least favorite things in the world.

Clearly, Easter is not my holiday.

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Until moving to New York, that is. Easter is a bit different up here. There are still deviled eggs, it seems I’ll never escape those completely, and yes, some people do a ham, but I’ve pleasantly discovered that lamb is a very popular Easter dish here. Seeing as I adore lamb in any cut or preparation, I think it’s safe to say, I’ve found my people.

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Of course I bring you a roast leg of lamb today. This was rich, flavorful, meaty, and beautifully textured. It was also a tad underdone when I first sliced into it, thanks to my meat thermometer hitting the skids at a very inopportune moment. I ended up having to cook this beautiful meat without a clue of its internal temperature at any given time. So we kind of had some lamb tartare. While not my intention, I wasn’t too upset as I like lamb tartare. But if you don’t, then I highly recommend a working meat thermometer. And yes, that is why my pictures are rather limited. I didn’t want to show you the rare part that was, let’s face it, still bleating a little.

But, I would highly urge you to look past all the hiccups my malfunctioning meat thermometer decided to cause and give this one a go. It’s really amazing. And can we say leftover sandwiches??? Wheeeee!!!!

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{One Year Ago: Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette, Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches}

Source: Keys to the Kitchen by Aida Mollenkamp

½ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
¼ cup fresh marjoram leaves
4 tsp kosher salt, plus more for the lamb
8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for the lamb
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs honey
3-6 tbs olive oil, plus more for the lamb
¾ cup toasted walnuts
1 (5-6 lb.) boneless leg of lamb, butterflied (get the butcher to do this for you)

Make the pesto: in the bowl of a food processor, combine the parsley, marjoram, salt, garlic cloves, pepper, vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Pulse until smooth. Add the walnuts and process again until smooth, adding more olive oil if need be, but not too much. You want this to be a very thick pesto.
Unroll the lamb all the way. Rub the meat with olive oil, then season with salt and black pepper. Spoon half the pesto into the center of the flattened lamb and use a spoon to smooth it out, leaving about a 1-inch border. Roll the meat back up and tie it in several pieces with kitchen string.
Rub additional olive oil, salt and pepper on the outside of the lamb. Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan. Let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes while you preheat your oven.
Speaking of which, preheat your oven to 450 F. Roast the lamb until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 F and roast until an instant read meat thermometer registers 125 F for medium-rare, about 135-140 F for medium. I highly recommend you do not go beyond medium. For medium-rare, this will take anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes. Seriously, use a functioning meat thermometer.
When the lamb is done, let it rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving. While it is resting, spoon the remaining pesto into the roasting pan and stir to combine with the meat drippings. Scoop up the pesto drippings and transfer to a gravy boat or small bowl.
To carve and serve the lamb, cut away the kitchen strings, and throw them deep into the trash if you have pets. Using a sharp knife, cut the meat against the grain into slices. Serve with the pesto pan drippings spooned over the lamb.

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the fabulous Sunday Supper team!



Savory and Sweet Breads:

Sides and Salads:

Main Dishes:


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Orecchiette with Heirloom Fingerlings and Asparagus Pesto


If there is ever a meal that will scream SPRING to you, this would have to be it. Beautiful spring produce, light and healthful, yet still filling and even felt right to eat it during a rainstorm. I did have to overcome one of my quirks to make this meal though.


For whatever reason, and I really couldn’t give you anything specific, I have always been somewhat adamantly against what I call a “carb on carb” recipe. Mostly those involved potatoes meeting a bread, like potato tacos, or potato pizza, or potato pasta, but also included things like pasta on pizza, or lentils on pasta, etc. The whole thing just didn’t really make sense to me, and almost felt greedy, like you were hoarding the amount of carbs allotted to you by the universe and therefore depriving someone else.


Don’t worry, I did have a practical objection in addition to my weird abstract protestation; I was also concerned that it just plain wouldn’t taste good. I figured it would be too heavy, or that the textures would be too similar. But I keep seeing such “carb on carb” recipes on the web, over and over and over, so I started to think that maybe there was something not so terrible about them.


Well. I was wrong and the internet was right. Carb on carb is delicious! The textures did not clash at all, and the asparagus pesto salved any conscientious objections I may have had to eating all those carbs in a single sitting. I have a good hunch this won’t be my last carb on carb experience.


By the way, the asparagus pesto was fantastic, I would highly recommend doubling that portion of the recipe and keeping it around. It would work so nicely on grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.


A few recipe notes: after you have boiled your potatoes, make sure they are very dry, otherwise they will not brown in the sauté pan. Don’t ask me how I know this. And speaking of potatoes, this recipe calls for heirloom fingerling potatoes, which I would recommend trying to find as they are beautiful and delicious. But really any small potato will do. Same with the pasta shape – as long as you stick to something small, the recipe will work just fine. Orechiette is pretty widely available these days, but elbow macaroni, mini penne, or small shells would sub in nicely too.


Source: slightly adapted from Webicurean

1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
½ cup chopped basil, packed
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
¾ lb heirloom fingerling potatoes, rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 lb orecchiette pasta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese + some for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by placing some ice cubes into a large bowl and filling with water. Salt it and mix the salt around with your fingers.
When the water is boiling, add the asparagus and blanch for about 1 minute. They should be bright green and still tender-crisp. Remove with a spider or other large slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking and retain the lovely color. Leave the asparagus in there for a minute or two, then remove to a cutting board. Leave the water boiling, as you can use it for your potatoes and pasta!
Cut the asparagus into thirds, and add to a food processor bowl along with the basil, pine nuts, and garlic. Process until well chopped/blended, then drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is still going.
Blend in the Parmesan using the pulse setting. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Resalt the boiling water. Halve the larger potatoes, and add to the boiling water. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remove with the spider to a bowl.
In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and add the potatoes, cooking until brown and crispy on all sides. Salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, resalt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions. Reserve about ½ cup of the water before draining.
Add the drained pasta along with the crisped potatoes to a serving bowl and toss with about half the pesto and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Use the reserved pasta water to thin out the mixture if necessary. Add more pesto as desired (I used about three-quarters of it). Garnish with additional cheese and serve.