We’ve pretty much taken to playing a weekly game of ‘guess that pesto’ in our house. Broccoli, kale and avocado have all made the line up. And now possibly the most delicious one of them all has been discovered; pea. This is the perfect summer pesto. It’s quick and light and surprisingly versatile. Time wise, from start until it’s dinner time we are talking roughly 15 minutes in total. If you’re growing mint, basil or even peas (if your thumb is green enough) then it’s almost put together for you right outside in your garden.
Things we’ve enjoyed it with include spread on thin crust pizza, topped with crumbled feta cheese, the salty cheese helping to highlight the sweetness from the peas. We’ve also mixed this into angel hair pasta (cooks in 3 minutes), topped with a small handful of crispy bits of bacon or extra Parmesan. And when it got brutally hot this week and the idea of cooking anything was just too much, I slathered it on a flat bread, with a swipe of yoghurt a sprinkle of some fresh peas for texture. So simple, so fresh, so addictive. Confession: the first day I made it I just scooped it out of the jar with a spoon and ate it straight away for lunch. Have I taken it one step too far now? Perhaps. I have a tendency to get too enthusiastic about peas.
*Note, this recipe is dedicated with love to a friend whose health has recently taken an utterly shocking and dramatic turn for the worse. She has two daughters, not much older than my own, and we have on many occasions discussed our kitchen adventures and endeavors to help make vegetables more appealing. Even prior to recent events I have made it a goal to try to incorporate vegetables in new (or at least new-to-us) ways that appeal as a family meal. But when making this, I though of her. Though I know she has far more important and compelling things to come back to, I would like offer this up, to add to the bottom of the list. I very much hope she will one day be able to make this for her family, then break out the tubs of ice cream afterwards, regardless of whether it is eaten or not.
Summery Pea Pesto
11/2 cups peas- fresh if you have is best but frozen is just fine too!
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp capers
1 small handful basil leaves
1 small handful mint leaves
1/4 cup water
olive oil- drizzled in whilst blending for desired thickness
salt to taste
If using fresh peas, cook them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. They don’t take long. If using frozen peas, just thaw them out.
Pop peas followed by everything else save the oil into the blender. Whiz away for a minute or so until all of your ingredients start to combine. While the blender is still running (hopefully your lid has a little removable hole in it- otherwise you’ll have to stop and start this) slowly drizzle in your oil until you have a smooth, thick consistency.
Because this pesto is so thick it makes for a great dip and spread. If you’re adding it to pasta I highly recommend reserving some of your pasta water and adding it to the pesto to thin it out a bit.