Sometimes tradition needs a little shaking up, so in this dish we’ve combined parsley, black olives, walnuts, and goat cheese (ingredients more common in French cooking than Italian) to make a quick and tangy variation of classic pesto. Whole-wheat fusilli adds heartiness and a little fiber.

What to buy: Whole-wheat pasta lends a nutty undertone to this dish, but you could also use the more common egg pasta.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 30 mins 
  • Active: 10 mins

Ingredients (7)

  • 2 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves (about 1 large bunch)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) chèvre (fresh goat cheese)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted black olives, such as kalamata
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound dried whole-wheat fusilli


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Place parsley, walnuts, chèvre, olives, pepper, and a generous pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are coarsely chopped and mixed together. With the machine running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream.
  2. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water before draining in a colander; immediately return pasta to the empty pot.
  3. Add pesto and toss to combine. Stir in the reserved pasta water to create a creamier sauce. Taste and, if necessary, adjust seasoning; serve immediately.

Beverage pairing: Lustau Puerto Fino Sherry, Spain. When you try to think of wine that is both nutty and redolent of olives, there’s only one that should come to mind: fino sherry. It goes with everything pungent and salty, but also has a beautiful affinity for toasted nuts. Drink chilled in small amounts, as it’s stronger than most wines.