Monday, October 29, 2007

Peas in a Pesto

For most of my life, I was firm in my stance on peas: I hated them. I picked them out of my samosas; rejected them steamed or boiled, fresh or frozen. And then, last year, I had the great fortune of giving peas another shot. It just took a spoonful of tender tinies, with a dash of salt, and I was hooked. I loved peas. They were so healthy, colorful, sweet, and versatile!

My love affair with peas has not faded over the past year, and I include them in as many recipes as I can. Not only are they bright and sweet, but they are incredibly healthy - the perfect cross between vitamin-rich vegetable and fiber-rich legume.

I'm not sure where I got the idea for a pea pesto, but it sure was a good one. My pea pesto is very simple and includes just about all of the ingredients for a traditional basil pesto in addition to peas. I usually serve it on pasta, both because of its creamy texture and because the sweet pea flavor is a perfect complement to whole grain pastas, such as whole-wheat linguine or even sprouted wheat pasta (Trader Joe's sells reasonably-priced sprouted wheat papardelle that we buy in quantity). Any extraneous pesto makes a delightful dip for pita chips or spread for sandwiches.

Here is my rough recipe for pea pesto - I haven't included precise measurements because I usually just adjust the proportions as I go. I do, however, start with 2 cups of peas for 3-4 pasta servings.
Delicious Pea Pesto

2 c. frozen tender tiny peas
handful of basil or parsley leaves
a few crushed garlic cloves
handful of grated parmesan cheese
generous drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
pine nuts or walnuts (optional)

Defrost peas in the microwave. Combine warm peas and the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy. Add a bit of pasta water if the pesto is too thick.

When I'm feeling particularly inspired, I serve the pesto and pasta with a generous sprinkling of toasted walnuts on top. Lemon zest would also be lovely. In the picture below we served the pesto as a dip for homemade farinata wedges (recipe and post coming soon). Enjoy!


Miriam said...

I have been anxiously awaiting your most recent post, and as usual I remain your biggest fan.
Here is a question for you...
I made oven baked fries seasoned with fresh dill, oregano, pepper, and kosher salt. I tossed with olive oil. Still, I thought they were bland and not at all like the Evson fries that I love. Ideas? Probably fresh garlic would do the trick?

rachel said...

What "sprouted wheat"?