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Saturday, July 2, 2011


It has gotten quite warm here in Brooklyn (a nice way of saying sweat soaked clothing hot!) A few days ago as I was out walking my two jack russell terriers- who were creeping along behind from the heat and Nigel decided to bolt after a "figment of his imagination" and down I went. Hence I will not be doing any heavy cooking for awhile while my arm heals (not broken but wrenched).

A few weeks back I did make a great dish-with peas I got at the greenmarket and my home grown fire escape basil.

I like pesto but I sometimes find it is too garlicky-or too oily-this recipe is much lighter and has a more delicate taste.

I followed the recipe with a few changes.
I used Whole wheat Linguine, and did not use all of the olive oil (just a preference).
I went with the basil for garnish-I think it would be great with the mint, but my mint plant did not survive the direct sun on my fire escape. I can grow Rosemary, my plant is three years old (I bring it in in the winter) thyme oregano and basil. They all do fine, but dill, mint and cilantro bite the dust year after year.
I used fresh peas- I loved the whole shelling process mindless and calming.
I did the ice bath for the peas but I think next time I will just make the time and let the peas cool on their own to see if there is a difference.
The pasta water to thin the sauce was brilliant you can make the sauce as thick or thin as you like.
It is a great hot weather meal the only heat is from the cooking of the linguine and thinning the sauce at the end.

Linguine with Pea Pesto

1 1/2 cups (from approximately 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) fresh pea or a 10-ounce package frozen peas, defrosted
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup (1 1/8 ounces) finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon table salt, plus more for pasta water
1/3 cup olive oil
12 ounces dried linguine
Garnish (optional): thinly slivered basil or mint leaves

If you’re completely maniacal about your peas getting overcooked (I am!), prepare an ice bath, a large bowl filled with ice water. Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes (this leaves them with a bit of structure). Drain peas then add them to the ice bath (if using) and drain again. If you haven’t used an ice bath, let your peas cool to lukewarm before making the pesto.

Set aside 1/2 cup of your cooked peas. Whirl the remaining cup of peas in the work bowl of a food processor with garlic, pine nuts, 1/3 cup parmesan and salt until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil. You can stop right here, toast some baguette slices and make some fine, fine crostini. Or, you can continue…

Cook your linguine until al dente. Reserve about two cups pasta cooking water (yes, this is a lot, the pea pesto will be surprisingly thick) then drain linguine and return it to pot. Over moderate heat, toss pasta with pesto, reserved peas and as much reserved pasta water as needed to smooth and distribute pesto; let cook for one minute so that the pesto adheres. Adjust salt to taste, add freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh herbs, if using, and remaining parmesan for passing.

Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen

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