Pea Pesto Pasta

This is a recipe that is great anytime, but especially good in the summer with fresh peas!

Pea Pesto Pasta

1 1/2 cups (from approximately 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) fresh peas 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
1 box linguine or other pasta
Thinly slivered basil or mint leaves, optional garnish

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. Put the remaining cup of peas in a food processor with garlic, pine nuts, 1/3 cup parmesan and salt until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil.
Cook your pasta until al dente. Reserve about two cups pasta cooking water (yes, this is a lot, the pea pesto will be surprisingly thick) then drain pasta 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.



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