Thursday, June 7, 2012

pea pesto pasta

I am beginning to get overwhelmed.  The sheer volume of produce at the farmers market is so staggering that I have to a limit the amount of money I am allowed to spend each time I go (budgeting is a true test of my will). Even with my budget, I end up bringing home more then I know to do with – potatoes, asparagus, fava beans, cucumbers, cherries, and strawberries! The inside of our fridge currently looks like a small garden.  It’s a beautiful sight. 

Most recently I brought home a pound of peas (I’ll be honest, they were purchased because I have a slight obsession with popping peas from their pods).  After shucking them, what remained was a cup of peas.  I knew I wanted them to be more than a side dish and a one-pot dinner (ok one pot and the Cuisinart) seemed like a good idea for a casual week night evening.  What resulted was pea pesto pasta that was garlicy, sweet, and fresh.  It was light but still felt substantial and a wonderful use of that weeks produce haul. 

Pea Pesto Pasta
Adapted from Gourmet

For this dish, I made my own fresh pasta (I am a sucker for making the most simple of dinners as complicated as possible.  Why use dry pasta when I can make fresh pasta and roll it out, cut it into strips and cook it! Who cares if we eat dinner at 9, it will still be yummy!).  I do not recommend making yourself crazy on a Wednesday night by making fresh pasta – I know for a fact it would be just as wonderful on a penne, gnocchi, or ravioli.  Lets be honest, it would taste good on any pasta so use what makes you happy (or toast, excellent on toast!). 

1 cup peas (fresh is best but frozen works just as well)
¼ cup basil, loosely packed
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
¼ cup parmesan plus more for sprinkling with at the end
¼ cup of olive oil (some may prefer more oil, I prefer my pesto a little thicker especially in the case of pasta since I can use water the cooking water to thin it!). 
½ pound of pasta
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Cook peas in a pot of boiling water until tender about 2 -3 min. Add peas to the food processor (I would recommend setting some peas aside for texture, about ¼ cup, I planned on doing that but I forgot so everything ended up in the Cusinart and it still turned out lovely).  Add into the food processor with the peas the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, and a few twists of pepper.  Turn the food processor on and begin to drizzle in the olive oil. Taste the pesto and adjust seasonings. 

Cook your pasta in salted water and drain when done (setting aside about 1 cup of pasta water).  Over medium heat, return the pasta to the pot as add in the pesto.  Mix it around and slowly add in the past water, mixing as you do, until you reach the desired consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with more basil and parmesan. 

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