We are obsessed with green peas in any forms - minty peas alongside fish & chips; our pea hummus with lemon thyme (see recipe here); simply blanched then served with dollops of lemon butter and pepper... you name it. We also add peas to any dishes that can be easily brightened up by some greenness - be that curry, fried rice, quiche or frittata.
Given our love for these little green goodness, we decided to make them star of the show - Petit Pois Pesto (PPP), a lighter and sweeter take on the Genoa classic. Add it to plain pasta and it will make a sweet, refreshing and satisfying supper or serve it with pitta bread to make it a colourful and delicious party finger food!
Last week we made this pesto for TwinnyDip's launch / our birthday party. Even the Italian (from Genoa) was digging into it! Peas should really go beyond side dishes / complements...
200g petits pois ( you can use any green peas / garden peas instead)
50g walnut pieces, raw or lightly toasted
50g grated cheddar
2 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 - 3 large handful of basil, leaves only
1/2 lemon, both zest and juice
3 - 4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a pan of water to boil. Add peas and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes or just al dente, then run the peas under cold water to prevent them from further cooking. Drain the water.
2. Tip the peas into a bowl suitable for food processing with a blender / food processor. Add garlic, walnuts, grated cheddar, basil and lemon juice. Blend until desired smoothness ( I like some small chunks of walnuts / green peas for their texture, but be sure that the garlic is fully.
3. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
4. Serve with pasta, or as a dip with warm pitta bread.
1. Toasting / roasting the walnuts: if you choose to toast / roast the walnuts, don't over roast / toast them as burnt walnuts can be very bitter.
2. Blanching the peas: plunging the peas into cold water will help avoid over-cooking the peas once they are cooked. But if you like your peas squidgy cook them for a further 1 - 2 minutes.