Pasta with Pea Pesto
Pasta with Pea Pesto is a simple and economical meal made with pantry/fridge/freezer staples. Use your favorite cut of pasta, blend up a quick no cook sauce, and you have a protein rich, flavorful, and meatless meal in no time!
October 26, 2020 by Nicole Collins
We're back to your regularly scheduled programming!
It's been a little over a week since we last chatted, so how's everyone doing?
Truth be told, this past week has been pretty crappy. Just when you think 2020 can't get any more evil, life throws a completely devastating curveball. Heaven gained another young angel last weekend, and I needed to take a little time away from the internet world to process and be present with his brokenhearted family.
We'll talk about him soon. I've written a few notes to him over this past week, but I'm just not ready to share them out loud yet.
So instead, we're going to talk about this pretty incredible meal that came together with the minimal scraps that I found in my kitchen after 3 weeks of no grocery shopping.
I had to put myself on spending “time out”, but that's another story for another day.
Today, we're making Pasta with Pea Pesto!
I think we've done pretty well getting into this Meatless Monday groove, don't you think? I've gotten to the point where I'm whipping up meatless meals without even thinking about it now. It's more like an afterthought of “oh...that was meatless!” And, today's meal fits that bill.
This meal comes together so quickly with only pantry/fridge/freezer staples, and sometimes those meals turn out to be the absolute best.
Let's start with the pasta. I recently “home edited” my pantry, and the amount of partially full pasta boxes that I had was absolutely ridiculous. 3 oz of this pasta, and 6 oz of this pasta, and 8 oz of this pasta. I had maybe 7 different used boxes of pasta. So, this pasta was almost comprised of 3 different shapes! My point is that it doesn't matter what shape you use. Any short cut pasta works beautifully in this. A longer cut could hold this sauce well too, though. You can't tell, but I used a mix of whole wheat and regular pasta, and the sauce pairs well with both, as well.
No matter what cut of pasta you choose, there are only 2 main rules. 1. Salt your pasta water! Make that baby taste like the sea. We're actually going to use some of that pasta water in our sauce, and that's really going to be our main source of seasoning. So, don't be shy with that salt. The water is the only real opportunity we have to season that pasta. And 2. Cook your pasta until just al dente. That's the shortest cooking time on the box. Nobody likes mushy pasta, and that chewy bite is one of my favorite things about a short cut pasta. Bellisimo!
While our pasta cooks, we're going to get some shallot and garlic into a skillet. Saute them in some olive oil until they start to soften, and remove them from the heat. That's it...step two is done!
Next, we're going to blend up our sauce. Other than the shallot and garlic that we sauteed, this is a no cook sauce! The secret ingredient that makes this meal so quick and easy is frozen peas. They're cheap. They last in the freezer. And, they're already cooked before they're frozen. So, all we need to do is thaw them out!
Add the thawed peas to a small food processor or blender along with the shallot/garlic mix, some fresh basil and mint, a little parmesan cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a little pasta cooking water. Hit the button to blend it up, and the sauce is finished!
All that's left to do is pour the sauce over our drained pasta, and give it a mix. The heat from the pasta helps to warm the sauce, and this meal is finished! Plate it up, give it an extra sprinkle of parmesan on top, and add a little pinch of red pepper flakes to add an extra level of contrast to this sauce. SOOOOOO GOOD!
Peas are full of protein, so I promise you that you won't even miss the meat in this sauce. It's so delicious and filling! And bonus recipe, I had a bowl of this pasta for breakfast one morning, and I topped it with a poached egg. Let. Me. Tell. You...that creamy yolk mixed with this fresh and herbaceous pasta was absolute heaven. So, if you really feel like you need some extra protein, add the egg. You won't regret it.
Ok, everyone. That's another Meatless Monday in the books with many many more to go!
I hope you enjoy! And, let's eat!
Pasta with Pea Pesto
Serves: 4 Print
8 oz short cut pasta (I used farfalle)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tbsp basil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
1 tbsp grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp pepper
salt, to taste
crushed red chili flakes, for garnish
Make the Pasta: Cook pasta in generously salted water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, and drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, start the sauce: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and shallots, and saute for 5-6 mins until the garlic is fragrant and the shallots start to soften. Remove from heat.
To the bowl of a small food processor or blender, add peas, basil, mint, parmesan, lemon juice, garlic and shallot mix including the oil, pepper, and reserved pasta water. Process until smooth.
Finish the Pasta: Add drained pasta back to the cooking pot. Top with pea puree, and toss well to coat. Transfer pasta to a serving dish, and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve!
*Frozen peas that have been thawed are great for this sauce, because they're already par cooked. So, they don't require any additional cooking before we use them.
*If we salt our pasta water properly, we won't need to add any additional salt to our pea pesto. Our pasta cooking water should taste “like the sea”.
*If you don't have a lemon on hand, you could substitute white wine vinegar for the lemon juice.
*I've said this a thousand times before, but the small food processor in this Ninja Prep set is my go to for blending small batch sauces. It's the perfect size!
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