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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Pea pesto pasta

There are a lot of reasons to love summer and fresh peas are definitely somewhere on that list.  They might not be at the top (my guess is somewhere between miniature golf and garage sales) but it definitely wouldn't be summer without them.  Here in Ontario you can buy them fresh from the field at roadside stands through July and August.  They generally come in big baskets containing at least a million peas each (perhaps a slight underestimate but I've never actually counted). This is great if you're feeding a visiting basketball team, however, if you're just two people it leaves you with at least a couple hundred thousand spare peas to address.

The traditional use for surplus peas is, of course, the pea shooter: a straw or hollow tube through which you blow in order to force peas, previously jammed into the other end, to fly into the faces of your younger siblings.  If you don't have any younger siblings or if you can't find a tubular object of suitable diameter and feel that simply throwing the peas is beneath you then this recipe is another great way to address your glut of peas.  It's simple, fast, delicious, keeps well and is very healthy.

Here we use it as a pasta sauce but it's also great on crostini, as ravioli filling or eaten out of a Tupperware container with a spoon.

2 cups shelled sweet peas
1 cup grated Parmesan
3 cloves garlic
2 mint leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
2.5 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

To make the pea pesto, place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until well ground.  Add the peas, garlic, cheese and mint and puree while slowly adding in the olive oil until the peas are all broken up but not liquefied.  Season with salt to your preference.

Serve over fresh pasta, reserving a bit of pasta water to mix in as well.  You can use any pasta you like but I really like fresh spaghetti made from our basic pasta dough recipe.  

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