Spring Pesto with Orecchiette and Peas
Pesto is a dream come true for those of us that love leafy greens, but want something other than salads. It is so variable and complements almost any food item; I would consider it the “ketchup” for healthy foodies. What makes it so fun is that you can vary the basics: your choice of leafy greens (except lettuce), cheese, and nuts or seeds (I have seen pumpkin seed pesto in the fall and it is delicious!). For keeping in season with spring, I decided to work in arugula and fresh dill.
Have you ever had pesto on your pizza? Or as a spread for salmon or chicken? It is such a versatile dish that it can be made ahead and kept in the freezer for more recipes in the coming months. The trendy avocado toast seen all over social media could even be complemented with some pesto for flavor!
This recipe was quick and simple. While the pasta was boiling I steamed the english peas in a mesh strainer on top. During the cooking time, I tossed all of the ingredients for the pesto in a mini food processor (can be done in a blender too) and whipped them up.
Feel free to toss in some protein ( I used vegetarian sausage), extra arugula and cheese to your liking. What I liked the most about this recipe was that it didn’t involve chopping and prepping of vegetables. All you have to do is wash all of the produce first and toss those babies into the food processor!
- Spring Pesto:
- 2 cups Arugula
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, large stems removed
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup almonds, toasted preferred
- 1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino, shredded
- 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
- Pasta Recipe:
- 1 pound Orecchiette pasta (can use another shorter pasta of your choice)
- 1- 1/2 cups of English or Green Peas, raw
- 1 cup Arugula
- Vegetarian sausage (or actual sausage), chopped, optional
- Black pepper, optional
- Bring a medium pot with water to boil and add the pasta.
- While the pasta is boiling, steam the peas in a mesh strainer (or steamer) on top of the boiling water.
- Let the peas cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender and set aside.
- While the pasta is boiling prepare the pesto by mixing all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender; set aside.
- Once the pasta is al dente (about 10-12 minutes), drain and return to the medium pot removed from heat.
- Mix in the peas, pesto mixture, and arugula.
- Add in the cooked sausage and sprinkle with black pepper, both optional.