I mentioned the pesto in passing last week and since I’ve made this dish three times in the last two weeks, for different people and to pretty rave responses, I thought I would share.
First, a word about pesto. EVERYYYYYTHING can be turned into pesto, or perhaps the better way to say it is, pesto can be made out of anything. I’ve made pesto out of every herb under the sun—humble parsley is surprisingly tasty—and they basically all work. Like last night, for instance, I made pesto out of dill and put it on some veggies and halibut, with a little white wine, dijon, olive oil and parm, and holy smokes was it good. It’s hard to mess it up. But this particular pesto is my current favorite, and garlic scapes are cheap at the market right now in the northeast, so here you go.
1/4 lb. of sweet peas, fresh or frozen (ha, “1/4 lb.” I have no idea how much I use; just eyeball it—you want a bunch of peas)
1/2 bunch of asparagus (but maybe just make it all; cooked, it keeps well in the fridge for two days)
a fistful of garlic scapes
1 tbsp Red Star nutritional yeast
good olive oil
salt (gonna fly my pretentious flag and tell you all I live for Maldon)
1 cup fresh arugula, packed but not crushed
brown rice pasta (or real pasta if you are unafflicted)
—Bring water to a boil and throw in your scapes. After about two or three minutes, remove the scapes and run them under cold water to stop them from cooking more.
—Throw your asparagus into the hot water left over from the scapes so as to not waste water, but also because you now have delicious garlic water you won’t want to toss. Remove the spears once they start to get nice and green but not mushy, about 4 minutes.
—If your peas are frozen, do those in a separate pot. The secret to cooking frozen peas? Put them in water before it boils. Once it reaches a boil, you’re done. Turn off the heat immediately, strain and run under cold water, and you will have perfect little peas.
—In a food processor, blender, or a deep bowl with a hand blender combine your scapes with 1/4 cup of good olive oil or more, the juice of one lemon, your fresh arugula, salt and pepper to taste, and some nutritional yeast (or parmesan, if you’re feeling fancy and aren’t vegan). Blend until smooth but no longer.
—I like my veggies to be room temperature when I put them on pasta, so this is when I make my pasta. The fresh noodles will heat up the veggies just enough.
—Cook whatever pasta you like.
—Once done, fold in the pesto and then the peas GENTLY. Add the asparagus at the very end so it doesn’t break up.
—Top with as much cheese or Red Star as you like (and if you’re like me, you like a lot).
C’est tout! What have you made pesto out of? Share, share.