19 March 2009
A pasta aficionado like myself should not have waited so long to spread this gospel:
If it's winter or you don't have a garden full of basil, don't give in and buy the jarred stuff. It's always depressing compared to real Genovese pesto. Instead, make pea pesto!
Peas, parsley, onion, lemon. It all never tasted so good.
- put on a big pot of water to boil
- sauté finely diced yellow or Spanish onion in olive oil w/ salt & pepper until golden in another wide pot.
- pour in a pound bag of frozen peas (NOT sweet garden peas - too sweet for pasta), stir and break up until nearly cooked through on its own steam
- water should be boiling now (put a lid on it to hurry it up), salt well, and add a pound of your favorite pasta shape
- just before the pasta is done take up to 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid and pour it over the peas. Turn the pasta off.
- add a big handful of loosely chopped flat parsley, juice of 1-2 lemons, and a lot more salt and pepper to the mixture
- *special equipment notice* use a handheld immersion blender (or a food processor or regular blender in a pinch) to purée the pea mixture very well. Taste for seasoning.
- transfer to the pasta to the sauce with tongs or a slotted ladle (the bit of extra liquid is good for the sauce)
- serve pasta with a good snowfall of parmigiano reggiano and a bit more fresh, coarsely ground black pepper