I was almost going to call this dish Kermit the Frog spaghetti! Just take a look at the brilliant green colour! It’s incredible! I imagine if Kermit the Frog were meant to be a dish, this would have to be it! However, after a little deliberation I decided to forgo the abovementioned title and opt for the pea pesto choice instead, I realised that the thought of your favourite Muppets star in a dish may not sound all too appetising. And I did not want to provide you with any reason whatsoever not to cook this fantastic meal, its way too delicious to be passed aside because of a minor naming error.
Pea pesto. Brilliantly green, full of spring flavour spiked with salty parmesan, zesty lemon, fresh mint, crunchy roasted almonds all held together as a result of liquid gold, extra virgin olive oil. One of my latest kitchen discoveries has been homemade pesto and to be honest I am a little obsessed. I just love the stuff! Before making my very first batch of basil pesto I had no idea the delights and versatility it brought to the kitchen. Now I am whizzing up different kinds of pesto left right and centre. I can’t help it. I just feel it’s the perfect way to add copious amounts of flavour to so many dishes that can otherwise be a little lacklustre. Take the abundance of spring vegetables at the moment, yes they are great however add a little homemade watercress pesto and I promise you’ve never tasted vegetables quite like this before. The pesto adds so much godly goodness that takes the spring vegetables to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Not only is pesto delicious and versatile but it’s a breeze to prepare, especially when you opt for the food processor technique as I do. This is how demanding it is. You take the lid off of your processor; place the ingredients inside, place lid back on top and pulse. Once combined and with the motor running you add the oil in a steady stream. Pronto pesto.
The recipe I have detailed below makes around two cups of pea pesto which you can easily store in a jar, finishing with a thin layer of olive oil, that will keep in the fridge for a month or so. And I promise with the intensely bright green jar nestled in the fridge filled with gorgeous pea flavour it will not take you long to discover new ways to incorporate pesto into your daily eating life. One suggestion that I know you must try (other than pea pesto spaghetti of course) is pea pesto bruschetta. You simply take a thick slice of Italian crusty bread and char grill, once toasted rub with a little garlic and top with spoonfuls of pea pesto, a torn mozzarella ball, a tiny handful of watercress leaves (or rocket) and finalise with a flourish of freshly grated parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. One of the best and most simple lunch/dinners I have had of late. Pesto is also a time poor person’s life saver, with a jar of pesto in the fridge dinner can be ready and on the table in the time it takes to boil pasta, no need for chopping, copious amounts of cleaning/prep work or hair pulling stress levels, simply and serenely stir a few tablespoons of pesto through cooked pasta and dinner is done. Pure simplicity at its best. Enjoy! K x
Pea Pesto Spaghetti
500g frozen peas
3 garlic cloves
½ cup parmesan, grated plus extra to serve
1/3 cup almonds, skins on, roasted
1 large handful of mint leaves, plus extra to serve
Rind of 1 lemon
1 cup olive oil
Place peas and garlic into a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until peas are tender. Drain peas and run under cold water to cool. Squeeze garlic cloves from skins. Place peas, garlic, parmesan, almonds, mint and lemon zest in food processor and pulse until combined. With the motor running add olive oil in a steady stream until combined. Add more olive oil if the pesto looks a little thick. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as required. Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions, drain and return to the pan. Add ½ cup pesto to the spaghetti and mix until combined. To serve, top with freshly grated parmesan and torn mint leaves. Serves 4.