Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I awoke this morning to the unexpected sound of a lawn mower in my yard. Our gardener showed up a bit early (try two months early) to take care of the grass that I will admit needed to be cut because of all the rains we've been getting - premature April showers you might call them. While a gardening bill for March isn't exactly in the budget I did appreciate the smell of freshly cut grass, which immediately made me yearn for spring and all its glory. But wait - spring has sprung. My desire for all things green is acceptable now, and my craving for peas no longer has to be suppressed.
A goal of mine has always been to have fresh herbs to choose from any time I want. Dill. Chives. Thyme. Rosemary. Parsley - check. When I was at the grocery store shopping for this meal I ran across a display in the produce section filled with small pots of already-grown herbs, including this parsley. While I thought it was kind of cheating, not starting it from a seed, I also thought it would be good practice to buy some of the parsley and see how it likes living on my kitchen windowsill. A quick trip to Ikea, and a small, white pot of green parsley seems to be settling in quite nicely. While this recipe did in fact call for frozen peas I can only imagine it would be improved with a pile of freshly shelled ones. Paired with fresh parsley this dish would be bumped from pretty awesome to absolutely fabulous. I wouldn't be recommending it to you if I thought otherwise. I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed it today for lunch and dinner. Yes, I may have eaten it twice.
I've eaten pasta with pesto many times, but I've never made it at home for the obvious reasons: fresh herbs I rarely had on hand and didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for, and pine nuts that are also costly, making a simple meal too expensive, in my opinion. Switching out walnuts for pine nuts and adding peas for some of the herbs makes this pesto much more accessible. This recipe also makes more than enough pesto for one meal so I took the extra portions and froze them flat in Ziplock bags. I'm not sure it will be as tasty after it's been frozen, but I'm willing to give it a go. I can imagine working outside all day then sitting down to a quick meal on the patio, along with a glass of white wine. I can also imagine evenings in the yard, playing in the sprinkler with Cash, and taking bites of pesto-grilled chicken legs.
It sure beats takeout.
Pea and Parsley Pesto with Linguine
Adapted from Everyday Food
3 cups frozen (or fresh) green peas
1 cup packed parsley leaves
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for dusting, if desired
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon water
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
12 ounces linguine
1. Cook one cup peas according to directions, or if using fresh cook until tender.
2. In food processor combine cooked peas, parsley, toasted walnuts, Parmesan, garlic and water. Process until ingredients turn into a thick paste. Gradually add oil, and process until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook pasta, and add remaining two cups of peas about 1 minute before pasta finishes cooking. Reserve one cup of pasta water, and set it aside. Drain peas and pasta and return them to the pot. Toss with 1/3 of pesto (reserving remaining pesto for later dishes), and add just enough pasta water to create a sauce to coat pasta. Serve with dusting of parmesan, if desired.