Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring Pea-sto with Whole Wheat Penne

I should have known better.

Rachael Ray sucks. Why do I make her recipes? I've had a few successes with them in the past couple months (like her vodka cream pasta) and I guess I had renewed faith in her abilities. So tonight we made a dish from the April 2007 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, because it had been positively reviewed elsewhere. That was a mistake.

This recipe is weird. It sounded good and interesting: pesto made with the added ingredient of peas! I like pasta, pesto, and peas, so it sounded like a good combination. Wrong! I took a bite and said, "This is weird!" So that seems to be the consensus. We will not make it again.

Spring Pea-sto with Whole Wheat Penne

Whole wheat penne pasta
One 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2 generous handfuls), plus more for serving
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Leaves of 6 to 8 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Freshly ground pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a couple of ladlefuls of the pasta cooking water.

2. In a food processor, puree half the peas with the basil, cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, tarragon and lemon peel until coarsely chopped. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.

3. In a large serving dish, pour 2/3 cup reserved pasta cooking water over the remaining peas, then stir in the pea pesto. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Serve in bowls and pass extra cheese around the table.

Yield: 4 servings

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