When alliteration is the title of a blog post, you know it’s going to be a good one. I have no idea if that’s really true, but I DO know that it’s true for this one!
I’m a recent pea-convert and made peas with pesto and pasta few weeks ago. It was good and all, but I used pre-made pesto because my one attempt at pesto was so terrible that I was afraid to try again. And linguine noodles were definitely not the way to go. I was losing peas left and right.
I knew I wanted to re-attempt this one since it should be a no-brianer. Then I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina cooking with chef from Rao’s and they made his famous peas and prosciutto side dish. I immediately got inspired to turn his side dish into a main course and simultaneously try my hand at pesto once again.
I used Mark Bittman’s pesto recipe and cut out a few things from Rao’s recipe because making a garlic oil when the peas and prosciutto are about to be covered by garlicy pesto seemed redundant.
It turned out insanely delicious with simple but powerful flavors. This pesto recipe is definitely going to be my new go-to. I used 2 giant cloves of garlic and a little more than the 1/4 cup of cheese the recipe called for which made the pesto explode with flavor. Make this now!
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, big stems discarded, rinsed and dried
Salt to taste
½ to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, or more
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
Toast nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking frequently, until fragrant, browned and not burned.
Pulse them in a food processor until chopped but not at all powdery.
Add basil to the food processor with the garlic and as much oil as you need to allow the machine to do its work. Process, adding salt, pepper and oil as needed. When the pesto is smooth, stir or pulse in the cheese.
Peas and Prosciutto
(Adapted from Rao’s recipe)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 package diced prosciutto
1 15-ounce can/frozen bag green peas, drained, or 2 cups fresh peas, cooked
1 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add in the prosciutto and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
Add the peas, broth and salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes or until hot.
Drain off all liquid and combine with the pasta. Mix in the pesto until all ingredients are covered.