I've loved standard basil pesto for as long as I can remember. I was a weird child who didn't shy away from green pasta - I actually preferred it to the typical buttered noodles most kids grow up with. Now I love experimenting with incorporating different flavor combinations into the pesto I make, and this recipe is my now my favorite summer variety. 

The sweetness of the peas, nuttiness of the parmesan and decadence of the crispy shallots make this pasta a stand-out side dish (great for bringing to a summer party!) or indulgent main course for the next time you encounter a serious pasta craving. 
minted pea pesto with crispy shallots
makes about 6-8 servings

1 package pasta (I used whole wheat thin spaghetti)
1 ten-ounce package of frozen peas, thawed 
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup of parmesan, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup of walnuts (pine nuts work too)
5-6 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (for garnish)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil, separated
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare pasta according to instructions; toss with a drizzle of olive oil so it doesn't stick together and set aside to cool. 

In a blender or food processor, combine most of the peas (set aside some to keep whole for garnish), garlic, parmesan, walnuts, mint, parsley and 1/3 cup of olive oil. Blend until smooth, adding extra olive oil if necessary for consistency. The pesto should have a thick and creamy texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss pasta with pesto and whole peas.

While the pasta continues to cool, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Pan fry the shallot in oil until crispy and golden brown, then drain off excess oil on a paper towel. 

Serve pasta at room temperature, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and crispy shallots. 

06/19/2012 1:49pm

this looks incredible!!!

06/19/2012 6:02pm

This looks delicious! Looking forward to cooking this!


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