pesto

Fresh Garden Pea + Kale Pesto Pasta

Garden pea and kale pesto pasta | Hello Victoria

Now, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that everyone likes pasta. (I mean, unless you’re celiac that is.) It’s always so warm and delicious… but often leaves me feeling a bit guilty. It’s not exactly health food, is it?

So when I saw this recipe from Waitrose, it felt like the perfect marriage of guilty pasta and veggies! This pesto is so vibrant and fresh tasting, with the garden peas… while also still feeling like a traditional pesto, with garlic and basil. It’s delicious, but also feels almost healthy.

Garden pea and kale pesto pasta | Hello Victoria

The perfect recipe to enjoy after spending the day gardening in the allotment 🙂 Which is pretty much what we do every weekend!

So if you’re looking for a quick meal on a weeknight, this is the jam! And you can easily swap out the kale for spinach, or another similar green. In fact, I actually prefer the flavor with the spinach as opposed to kale. It’s subtler, which allows the pea and basil to really shine.

If you’re the type to keep frozen peas on hand, it’s an easy fridge meal. That is, if you’re the type who keeps spinach or kale on hand. 😉 Enjoy!

Garden pea and kale pesto pasta | Hello Victoria

Fresh Garden Pea + Kale Pesto Pasta

Ingredients
  

  • 320 g frozen peas
  • 150 g kale stems removed (or spinach)
  • large handful basil
  • 30 g toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan plus more to serve
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 300-500 g pasta
  • chilli flakes lemon juice, salt, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place the peas in a bowl, and cover with just boiled water. Let sit for 30 seconds, then drain and rinse in cold water.
  • Blanche the kale/spinach in boiling, salted water for 1 minute. Drain, and pat dry.
  • Transfer the peas, kale, garlic, nuts, parmesan cheese, and a healthy pinch of salt to a food processor. Mix until everything is chopped, and drizzle in just enough oil to keep it moving.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chilli flakes, to taste. Add any more salt if desired.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions, and drain, reserving a ladle of the pasta water.
  • Add a splash of the pasta water into the pesto, and whizz to combine. Stir together the pasta, and pesto, adding more water to give it a silky texture. Taste, and serve with extra parmesan or chilli flakes.

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Adventures in Foraging: Stinging Nettle Pesto

Caprese salad with stinging nettle pesto | Hello Victoria

While in my course at the Northwest Culinary Academy, we spent a day at an allotment garden in Richmond. Part of what we learned was about foraging for edible items. One of the things readily available in the springtime is stinging nettle! As the culinary students were required to use a foraged item in their menu development (and the pastry students were their guinea pigs), I got to try plenty of nettle pesto!

Now, if you’re like me, you may not have heard of stinging nettle before. Honestly, I don’t know how I wasn’t aware of it until that day, as it’s everywhere! It’s not just prolific, but it’s also the kind of thing you should be aware of… it hurts! Seriously, don’t touch this stuff without protective gloves. I accidentally touched the bag I was putting it in with my arm, and got stung. I guess my gloves got some residue on the outside…

Stinging nettle pesto | Hello Victoria

But while stinging nettle, well… stings, it’s also one other thing – free! Homemade pesto is one of those things that always seems to cost too much. Fresh basil and pine nuts aren’t the cheapest things to buy. So I decided to try my hand at making some nettle pesto using not just free stinging nettles, but the cheapest nuts I could find! I think pine nuts could give it a better flavor, so if you’re flush, go for it! Buuuut… if you’re trying to save on money, try walnuts! (more…)