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Spring Pea-sto

May 16, 2010

Another idea from Rachael Ray…if you know me, you know that I am not typically a big advocate for peas.  My brother loves them, but they are definitely not a go-to veggie for me.  This got rave reviews from some friends over for dinner the other night.  Try it!  You might be surprised.

You will need:

  • 1 lb whole-wheat pasta (I used fusilli)
  • 1 package frozen peas, defrosted (the normal, smallish size)
  • 1/4 c lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1 c packed fresh basil leaves
  • 6 to 8 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves stripped
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 c grated cheese (R. Ray used Parm, I used Romano), plus a little extra for serving
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Then you…

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.  Cook according to the directions, stopping about 1-2 minutes before al dente (the pasta will continue cooking with the sauce later).  Drain, but save 1 to 2 ladles (or 1/2 to 3/4 c) of the starchy water for the sauce.
  2. Place 1/2 of the peas in the bottom of a large serving dish. Place the rest of the peas in a food processor with the pine nuts, basil, tarragon leaves, lemon zest, and cheese. Add a little salt and pepper and then process the pesto into a rough paste, adding the olive oil through the feed tube. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Pour starchy pasta water over the peas in the bowl. Mix in the pesto. Pour hot, drained pasta over the pesto and mix well. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve with the extra cheese!
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