A springtime favorite in my household, pea pesto is a great way to get both kiddos and adults to enjoy their veggies in a new way. This iteration, sans the nuts usually found in pesto and with arugula in place of the more traditional herbs, screams “spring time” to me in all the right ways- light, green, fresh, and still filling.
1 1/2 cups fresh English peas
1 cup slightly packed baby arugula
2 smallish cloves garlic
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed.
1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook your pasta of choice to al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of pasta water and set aside.
2. While the pasta is cooking, bring another medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the peas and boil for 1 1/2 minutes (or up to 2 1/2 minutes if the peas are especially large). Immediately drain the peas and rinse in cold water to stop cooking, then drain again and let cool to room temperature.
3. Once the peas are cooled, set aside about 1/4 cup of the peas and place the rest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the arugula, garlic, a few pinches of kosher salt, and pecorino. Process for about a minute or until smooth, stopping the machine to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Leave the machine running and slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil. If necessary, add a few more drizzles of olive oil until the mixture is quite thick but still easily spreadable with a knife. Taste the mixture for seasoning and add more salt, if necessary.
5. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, place the pasta into a warmed serving plate (or just dry the pot you cooked it in and place the pasta back in there) and top with the pea and arugula mixture. Stir everything together, moistening with the reserved pasta water until it’s a bit saucy. Place in warmed serving bowls and serve immediately.