1/2 pound prosciutto
¼ cup parmesan
8 sage leaves
Drizzle of olive oil
¼ cup toasted pine nuts


1. Put the prosciutto, parmesan, sage leaves, olive oil and pine nuts in your food processor.
2. Pulse a few times until blended.
3. Spread on crostini and drizzle with more olive oil and your best balsamic vinegar.
4. Alternately, use the spread to stuff cherry tomatoes or top fresh figs or melon chunks.If you have any left over – which is highly unlikely – toss it with whole wheat pasta, fresh tomatoes and roasted asparagus.

This is a recipe Abbey Cahill O'Brien adapted after tasting it at Il Gottino, in Soho. Mixing prosciutto, sage, pinenuts and parmesan into a spread, nothing could be simpler, not much more sublime; it's a study from the "driftwood" category of great style: free and found.

I'm with Abby Cahill O'Brien. Abby has one of my favorite blogs. It's called 5th Joy. She has all kinds of great ideas about houses, and renovating things, and finding cool Goodwill finds, but she has really good, interesting recipes. So you're going to make something for us, right?

Right. So today, we're making an appetizer, and it's called Pesto di Parma, and the idea is to make a pesto out of prosciutto. So you begin with about-- this is a half pound of really good prosciutto, the best you can find. And it doesn't have to be sliced super thin because as you can see, we're putting it right into the food processor.

So this is what would usually be basil, right, in pesto?

Well it's actually probably-- I don't know, because we're going to add some sage as well, so the sage is taking place of the basil.


And you could use basil. That would taste delicious, too. But this is a new twist. And this is about eight sage leaves there. And if you have really small leaves, you want to put in a few more. Those are large, so we put in eight of those. And then we had a small handful of toasted pine nuts.

Toasted beforehand?

Toasted beforehand, just gets all the flavors out. Then a little bit of Parmesan. You don't want to have too much Parmesan because it's salty and the prosciutto is salty as well, so you have to be careful. So I usually add two small chunks about that big, see how it goes. And if I feel like it needs more, I can always add more.

The last thing to add is just a drizzle of olive oil just to help everything mix together and put a little bit a liquid in there. That was maybe a tablespoon and a half, I'd say. And that's it. So then you pulse it.

So you want this to be a fine paste, or sort of--

You do want it to be fine. You can see that it starts sticking together. You can actually see it, how it starts to stick together. And that's how you want it. That's getting to a spreadable consistency. That's the consistency you're looking for so that everything, all the flavors are incorporated, and you could spread it with a knife. I first had this at a wine bar in New York and I decided I need to recreate it at home. And it just really works well for an interesting twist on prosciutto for an appetizer.

Yeah, yeah. I need to smell this.

It smells really good.

Oh, it smells great. The sage is great.

So I'm just going to taste it too, because I want to know if there's enough Parmesan in there.

Right. Can I taste, too?

Mm-hm. Yeah, I think that's plenty.


Because you want to taste the prosciutto, and the cheese is an accent to it.

Right. And you definitely get the prosciutto taste, the richness of that really good prosciutto.

And you don't need much because it is very, very rich. So that's it.

It's great with a drink, I can tell.

Yeah. There's a lot of cocktails that would go really well with this.

That is so incredibly easy. How will you serve this?

There's so many ways to serve it, but today we're going to use a tomato, like a large size cherry tomato. You just slice the top off. I don't like to waste it, so I don't cut it in half. I just like to scoop off the top. And then I take a melon baller, and just scoop the insides. You have to use a little pressure. It doesn't have to look perfect. The edges might get a little ragged, but that's OK. You just want to get most of the meat out of there. And then I reserve the seeds and the meat in a bowl for later. We'll use those later. There's our tomato.

And you could put this in a small bowl, or you could even just use your hands and kind of mound it on the plate.

So we have the bruschetta here--

Yes, and we're going to put it on that well.

This is pretty.

It is very pretty. So there's the pesto, and then I would just take a couple of these and just put it in there.

Like a teaspoon?

Yeah. Not more than that. It's powerful stuff, so you don't need a lot to get the flavor.

Yeah. I can really smell it just standing here.

Yeah. And then what I would do with the crostini is instead of throwing this out, in Spanish tapas they do this where they put a little bit of the tomato juice on the bread. And I like it because it just softens the bread a little bit, too, which these are toasted crostinis and it makes it a little bit easier to eat. And then you get that--

But there's no olive oil already on this.

I did spray them with a little bit of olive oil in the oven before baking them for just five minutes or so.

I like that idea, that it softens it, because it is crispy.

And then just spread this thinly. A little goes a long way. Spread it thinly on top.

That's a great idea.

And then what's really, really delicious is to just drizzle a little bit of a very concentrated balsamic vinegar, so the best one you have, really thick.

So one of those aged balsamic vinegars?

Exactly. And just like that much on top, maybe a little bit more.

It looks so decadent, doesn't it? It's jewel like.

It really is. And that's it. And if you were having a fancy party, you could garnish it if you wanted a little more green on top, but this is usually how I serve it.

Sage leaves?

Yeah, you could put a little sage leaf on top. That would be perfect.

So we have one?

Let's start maybe with the tomatoes.

OK. Let's see. Excellent.

It's good.

It's really good. We need a glass of wine now. It's begging for one.

It is.

Thank you.

You're welcome.

Pesto di Parma Prosciutto
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