“Do you know you have three bags of frozen peas in the freezer?”
That was the first thing I heard when I walked into the kitchen for a big mug of coffee on Sunday morning. Apparently, Rob had already made coffee and reorganized the freezer all before I even got out of bed.
My response? “Really? I’ll just make a dish with peas in it today, no big deal.”
I was determined to use an entire bag of peas so I headed straight to my computer for ideas. I came across Smitten Kitchen‘s recipe for linguine with pea pesto and decided to make my own version with more peas, a smidge less olive oil & fresh mint blended in.
Peas are one of those sneaky super foods. They’re full of phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. They’re high in fiber. When it comes to vegetables, they’re also a really good source of protein with 7 grams in 1 cup.
With all these good things peas have to offer, I don’t really see the problem of having 3 bags in my freezer at one time.
Another healthy ingredient in this dish is pine nuts. Here’s a tip for those of you who always end up with blackened, not toasted pine nuts (me included.) Don’t toast them on the stove! Preheat the oven to 375F, pop them in a baking pan and give them a shake every 2 minutes or so, for 6-8 minutes. Set a timer so you don’t forget they’re in there and it’s a fool-proof way to get perfectly toasted pine nuts.
I literally just dumped everything into the food processor: peas, fresh mint, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, a pinch of sea salt.
The olive oil went in after I had a nice little puree going on.
The pesto is thick so using hot pasta water when you mix everything together will give you the perfect consistency.
Suddenly, having an oversupply of frozen peas doesn’t seem to be such a problem.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4-6 people
- 1 pound uncooked, medium-sized shrimp (optional)
- 3 cups frozen peas, defrosted
- 10-12 fresh mint leaves + extra for garnish
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts + extra for garnish, toasted and cooled
- ¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for pasta water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces linguine
Heat a medium pot of water on the stove. Blanch peas in boiling water for 2 minutes and immediately transfer into an ice bath to prevent them from becoming overcooked. We want to avoid overcooking otherwise you’ll end up with a yellow-green pea pasta dish which isn’t very appetizing.
If adding shrimp, remove tails and set aside.
Add 2 1/2 cups peas (reserving 1/2 cup), fresh mint leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and sea salt into food processor and process for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil towards the end, while processor is still in motion.
Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente according to package directions, drain and rinse, reserving 2-3 cups of pasta water to add back into the dish.
If adding shrimp, drizzle a touch of olive oil into the empty pasta pan and add shrimp, cooking for 3 minutes or until just pink. Transfer pasta and pesto back into pasta pot, add remaining peas and pour reserved water over pasta, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix well until the consistency is smooth and not sticky. I’ve used anwhere from 1-2 cups and refrigerated the last cup for reviving reheated leftovers.