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Food: Summer Pea Pesto

June 15, 2011

Nothing beats my mom’s vegetable-laden pasta salad in the summer, but this is a good substitute (and involves much less chopping). I’m not someone who seeks out peas on a regular basis, but they make this pesto sweet, and much lighter tasting than traditional basil sauces. The mint and lemon bring different layers of flavor, and the ricotta adds a substantial component that elevates this from side dish to meal status.

I prefer to use oven – roasted tomatoes packed in oil for this recipe – they bring a bright saltiness to a dish that is otherwise a sea of green. But, if you can’t get these you can just chop a fresh tomato, salt it, drizzle it with olive oil, and add to the pasta before serving.

Pea Pesto Pasta Salad – serves 4
1 lb short pasta (fusilli, penne), cooked, drained, cooled
1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup pignoli nuts
zest and juice from one lemon
1/4 cup oven roasted tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes), coarsely chopped and drained of oil
2 tablespoons fresh mint
1 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 clove garlic (small)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine ricotta, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor, blend briefly until smooth. Add mint, garlic, cheese, olive oil, 3/4 cup peas, 1/4 cup pignoli nuts. Puree until smooth, mixture will be a light green. Taste – add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if desired. Stir into pasta until well coated, add remaining peas, pignoli nuts, and tomatoes. Chill for one hour. Voila.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dad permalink
    June 15, 2011 5:43 pm

    Your crab cakes were a big on Monday. Served them with dried apricots on the side. Everyone thought this was a good compliment to the dish

  2. Pat permalink
    June 15, 2011 6:46 pm

    I made this tonight and it is delicious! I love your summer ideas. It goes great with a flank steak and lemon bars for dessert. Wish you were here.

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