March 21, 2007

Parsley Pea Pesto on Pasta

It’s always a challenge this time of year to find local produce in the market – the winter squash and rutabaga that I treasure has departed, and the early greens haven’t been told that Spring has Sprung. So, I look for recipes that I can use frozen organic veggies for a few reasons:

  1. they are much less expensive than the “fresh? ones hurriedly transported from California or even further like China;

  2. properly frozen veggies actually retain more of their nutritional value than transported veggies that haven’t see the field for weeks;

  3. one day, I’ll grow enough food to freeze it and have it over the winter!
  4. So, in these early spring days when I want something un-canned and different over pasta, I make this recipe. It’s quick and easy, takes minimal kitchenware [a blender or food processor), and certainly brings the “green? home.


    1 pound whole wheat penne or other pasta shape
    1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen peas
    1/2 cup blanched almonds*
    zest and juice of 1 lemon**
    1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves**
    1/4 cup olive oil
    salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

    1. In a large pot of rapidly-boiling salted water, cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. About a minute before the pasta is done, add half the peas. Drain pasta and peas, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and return the pasta-pea mixture to the pasta pot.

    2. Using a food processor, grind the almonds finely. Add the lemon juice and zest, the remainder of the peas, parsley, and salt to taste. Process until combined, then--with the motor still running--add the oil gradually and process until the mixture is smooth.

    3. Add pesto to pasta, tossing to combine, and adding reserved pasta water as needed to make the sauce the consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper to taste, transfer mixture to a serving bowl, and serve immediately.

    Serves 6.

    Health Notes:

    *Almonds are packed with good oils, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, and provide a source of protein in addition to the peas
    **Lemon is recognized as a cleansing agent for your digestive system, containing vitamin C (citric acid) to that not only wards off winter scurvy, but acts as an antiseptic
    ***Parsley’s volatile oils and flavanoids such as beta-carotene that give it a unique flavor also make it an effective anti-oxidant and "chemoprotective" food, especially in lung tissues; hence the addition to chicken soup when you have a cold or the flu! original recipe source

    World’s Healthiest Foods article on parsely


    Hey there - great recipe (and site).

    We're linking to it today from an Absolute Michigan features called Ready to Pick: Peas.

    Posted by: at June 28, 2007 09:36 AM

    The pasta looks great, I'll try it tomorrow. Sometimes I also prefer using frozen organic vegetables it taste almost the same.

    Posted by: at July 6, 2009 10:31 AM

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