Pumpkin Seed Pesto
2/3 c. pumpkin seeds (pepitas), these can be left raw or toasted*, as you prefer
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 ½ c. fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, cilantro, or basil — or a combination of these herbs to equal a total of 1 ½ cups.
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. fresh lemon zest
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ c. good quality extra virgin olive oil
Combine pumpkin seeds, Parmesan cheese and garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process approximately 30 seconds or until seeds are finely ground. Add the herbs (parsley, basil and or cilantro), lemon juice, and lemon zest and pulse about 3-4 times. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse just until incorporated. Taste and correct seasonings, if necessary.
Serve immediately with your favorite pasta, poultry or fish. Pesto may be refrigerated for up to three days, or frozen for several months.
Note: In traditional pesto preparation, very minimal mixing is required. It should not be processed until it is a smooth paste, as in many American recipes. So pulse as few times as possible to incorporate. You should be able to look at it and distinguish all the different ingredients individually.
*To toast the pumpkin seeds: Preheat oven to 375. Scatter dry pumpkin seeds onto a baking sheet pan in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for about 7 minutes, until light brown and crispy.