Mint & Spring Pea Pesto with Farfalle
You may know that I get really, really excited about pasta (see this post). Like super duper, close to obsessive about pasta. You may also know that my pasta obsession is to the point where I have an entire cabinet devoted to my “pasta shape” collection. Yup, hello all, my name is Maria and I have a pasta obsession! Lately, my “little” collection of pasta shapes has gotten somewhat out of control. Im running low on space and Dario’s not a big fan of random boxes and bags of pasta laying all around the kitchen waiting to be put away or cooked.
In light of my ever growing collection, I went to the farmer’s market this past weekend knowing that pasta was definitely going to be on the menu this week. A bunch of ideas crossed my mind as I wandered aimlessly through the market. I was just about to give in and go with plain pasta tossed with mixed veggies (I know…very uncreative for me!) until I came across one of my all time favorite market stands. There was a big sign exclaiming that Spring peas were “now available.” I knew instantly, I’d be making a big batch of my mint and Spring pea pesto!
Peas are obviously not the most traditional ingredient for a pesto. But when combined with fresh mint and a little bit of lemon, Spring peas make a wonderfully light and fluffy pesto. And since peas have a good amount of starch in them, the pesto comes out nice and thick and coast pasta really well. I love the bright Spring flavors – the mint is subtle in the background but is so refreshing. And the lemon just makes all the flavors pop with brightness!
In addition to the super quick and delicious mint and pea pesto, I added in a box of tiny heirloom tomatoes and heavy sprinkling of local feta cheese. Together…it’s a pesto pasta party! While the pesto would have been perfectly delicious on its own, the salty feta and sweet tomatoes added two new and wonderful dimensions to this dish! If you make this, which I highly suggest you do, feel free to add in whatever cheese or veggies you want. I bet it’d be great with asparagus or goat cheese too! Actually… I just might have to try out that combo the next time around!
- 2 1/2 cups shelled Spring peas (frozen peas will do in a pinch)
- 1/2 c fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper, more to taste
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2-3/4 c water
- 1 lb farfalle pasta, or other short cut pasta
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- If using fresh peas, blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until the starchy flavor is gone. Shock in cold water to stop the cooking. Frozen peas do NOT need to be cooked beforehand.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients (through salt and pepper). Pulse pea mixture until throughly combined and forms a paste. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Stop, scrape down the sides, taste mixture and adjust for seasonings.
- Again, with the food processor running, slowly add in the water. You may or may not need all of the water, so stop frequently to check the consistency of the pesto and scrape down the sides of the bowl. It should be thick or similar to a semi-runny pancake batter.
- Toss hot pasta with enough of the pesto mixture to thoroughly coat. Add int he tomatoes and feta cheese. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
You tell me! What’s your favorite pasta dish? Have you made pesto with other ingredients? What’s your favorite way to use Spring peas?