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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Green Pea Pesto with Orechiette

Ahh…. Fresh green peas AGAIN! Yes, there is an abundance of fresh green peas around here, and I am really loving the taste of them. I used to be a frozen pea kinda girl. So convenient, sweet, and perfectly frozen at their absolute best, frozen peas really are the mid week solution to vegetable needs.

But now fresh peas have taken their place. That fresh but slightly bitter crunch just cannot be replicated with frozen peas. On top of that, it just so happens that right here in Damascus, you can buy fresh peas in the market already shucked! Yes, that’s right… you don’t have to spend the time to do it yourself, making these a great fresh veggie for the middle of the week!

You just need to make sure you aren’t uber sensitive about the fact that they come from a market called Shalaan, which is actually the “lazy women’s market.” This is the market where you can buy parsley already all chopped up to make tabouleh, zucchinis and aubergines already hollowed out and ready to be stuffed, garlic already peeled, and peas already shucked. So, if you can get over your complex of shopping in the “lazy women’s way,” just thank the gods for finding fresh “convenience” foods, then enjoy!

Green Pea Pesto with Orechiette
Serves 4

2 cloves Garlic
1 large pinch Sea Salt
2 cups Fresh Green Peas
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 1/4 cup)
Salt and Pepper
500 grams uncooked Orechiette
Lemon zest for garnish

Cook the orechiette in boiling salted water until el dente, drain and place in a large bowl. Toss in a little olive oil and set aside.

In a mortar (or a blender), pound together the garlic, sea salt, and the peas (reserve a few for garnish). Once this mixture resembles a chunky puree, add the lemon juice and cheese. Then mix in enough olive oil to form a thick paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the pea mixture with the pasta. Drizzle with some olive oil and garnish with some fresh peas and lemon zest.

** Note: I have considered trying this recipe with some fresh mint, since peas and mint really are a perfect pair. To do this, pound about 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves with the garlic and sea salt. Then add the peas and continue the recipe.**


  1. I would have never thought to make pesto out of peas! But it's genius! Love the sound of this dish and can't wait to try it out!

  2. Wow, that's so bright, haha. Sounds delicious though, I love green peas :) so sweet!