We were given peas as our challenge from The Food Network for this week’s #SensationalSides. Funny but the truth is I just normally have peas as peas. There are the ONE frozen food that I always have on hand in my freezer and they are a favorite; both for the flavor, the color, and the ease of preparation. I checked my archives and I’ve made Crispy Shallots Fried Rice that includes peas and a dish I now remember that we loved; Peas with Bacon and Crispy Leeks. So I thought there was room for another pea-centric dish and I’m so glad I gave this a try; I can’t tell you how much I loved this Spaghetti with Pea and Pine Nut Pesto.
I’ve made a fair amount of basil pesto; even substituting out the pine nuts for toasted walnuts ever since pine nuts became as expensive as gold. But for this dish, I thought it worthy of hauling my stash out of the freezer and using the real deal. Luckily I got away with only using a quarter cup so this delicious dish won’t break the bank. If I didn’t have them? I would have no problem using the toasted walnuts here too.
I’m writing this post late for me; it’s this morning and I’m looking out the window and yet another late spring snow. My cat is in his cat tree by the window and my neighbor’s dog Spot is nestled into the blanket on the chair in my office. This dish is sort of a nice transition dish considering it’s spring AND snowing. Light and pretty and filled with peas which seem to shout spring veggie but still warm and comforting enough for me to enjoy it while we wait for spring to peek around the corner at the base of the Rocky Mountains. It takes longer to get here and yes, I’m ready!
When I decided to make a Pea Pesto, I did what I often do and did a quick search online when I was finished and found almost the same exact recipe online, this time on The Smitten Kitchen website. Try making something totally new and different that no one has ever thought of…it’s almost impossible! But Deb did have a great idea I thought I would use especially since I finished the pesto last night and it was too late to even think about actually making the dish and photographing it. She suggested using it on crostini, i.e. garlic bread that I spread with a bit of olive oil and toasted. That became dinner and OK, yes, I had it for breakfast again this morning. I love this stuff!! I almost hesitate to say but at least for the moment I love it more than basil pesto. That is saying a lot so you’ll just have to trust me and make it yourself and see what I mean; you will not be sorry, promise!
Spaghetti with Pea and Pine Nut Pesto
- 16-ounce package frozen peas, defrosted
- 2 small garlic clove, minced
- 4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt, plus more for pasta water
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 16 ounces dried spaghetti
- Garnish with sliced mint leaves (optional)
- Cook peas in the microwave for 3 minutes; drain and plunge into an ice water bath to stop cooking. Set aside 1/2 cup of cooked peas to add to the spaghetti.
- Put the remaining peas into a blender or food processor with the garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and salt and blend until smooth, scraping the sides of the work bowl as necessary. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running.
- Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and reserve about two cups pasta cooking water.
- Toss pasta with pesto and as much reserved pasta water as needed to smooth and distribute pesto and let cook for one minute. Add reserved peas and gently toss.
- Adjust salt to taste (pasta water is salted to taste first) and add freshly ground black pepper if desired.
- Serve immediately; pass extra Parmesan and garnish with mint if desired.
Love peas? Here are some more ideas from contributors to the Food Network’s #SensationalSides!
Taste with the Eyes: Succulent Fresh Fish and Spring Produce
Devour: Crowd-Peasing Recipes Using 3 Varieties of Spring Peas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta with Spring Peas & Pancetta
Red or Green: Sugar Snap Peas & Peppers
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Peas and Cottage Cheese Curry
The Mom 100: Sauteed Vegetable Frittata
FN Dish: 5 Ways Peas Are Better with the Italian Treatment