I miss San Diego. The sun has been shinning and as I watch my kids run around, I can’t help but want to teleport them to the beach, to the zoo, to Balboa Park. Since, I can’t do this my mind started to wander and I thought of Little Italy, and eating lunch on the patio of a restaurant, enjoying the view of the waves and the sun on our faces.
Then I thought about the meal that I would like to eat at that restaurant and here came the bright tasting, vibrant looking dish I present to you today. As I was making it, I kept the memory of the sun and the beach in the forefront of my mind, I think this might be the first time that I made a meal this way – connecting visuals, feelings, and mental state with food. It was fun! You should try it sometime!
Reserve pasta water to thin out your pesto while adding flavor, keep your artichoke hearts chunky, and crisp up those shallots for EXTRA crunch.
If you’d like, some alternatives and suggestions, here goes! Use whole wheat pasta instead, and add some protein such as grilled chicken or blackened salmon. You could also add some fresh cherry tomatoes on the side, sun dried tomatoes, or hearts of palm. If you have some left over pesto, use it on a piece of garlic toast or alongside scrambled eggs. As always, have fun with it and enjoy your time in the kitchen. Get messy and don’t forget to ask a few of our Family Table Talk questions to get conversations started.
Pea Pesto with Artichoke Hearts and Crispy Shallots
Close your eyes and think about the beach, the sunshine, and the people you would like to share this meal with. ☀️
12 oz pasta, (farfalle, rotini, penne), reserve 1/2 cup pasta water
1 cup of basil, fresh
3 cups of frozen peas, divided
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
6 marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped, more for garnish
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
3 to 4 shallots, sliced
- Pasta: Set a pot full of water with a generous portion of salt on the stove top to boil. Once your water comes to a boil, add in your pasta and cook al dente, per package instructions, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water after draining. Once drained, place pasta in a bowl and toss with some olive oil to keep it from sticking.
- Pesto: Cook your peas by placing them in a sauce pan and cover them barely with water over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. You want the peas to be plump, bright green and not wrinkly. Set aside to cool down.
- In a food processor, add in basil, 2 cups of peas (save the rest for topping), garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water to start. Process till everything has come together. Check consistency and add more liquid if needed, you want there to be a slight texture but not completely smooth. Add the artichoke hearts and pulse a few times, you don’t want to fully incorporate them, keep them chunky.
- Remove from the food processor and pour into a bowl, add your salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Crispy shallots: Peel and slice your shallots into 1/4 in thick rounds. With a frying pan on medium-high heat, add 1/4 cup of canola or grapeseed oil and heat up. Prepare a plate with some paper towels and set off to the side. Once the oil is ready (you can check this by adding in a shallot and listening for the SIZZLE), add your shallots in portions and fry them up until they are brown and crispy. Place them on the paper towels to drain. Set aside.
- When you are ready to serve, toss your pasta in the pesto (reserve some pesto for topping). Serve and top with extra pesto, peas, parmesan cheese, an artichoke heart and a mountain of crispy shallots. Sprinkle with flaky Maldon’s salt and crushed red peppers, a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy!
*This dish tastes best when the pesto has had a moment to rest and everything is still slightly warm. Though, I will say we had this for left overs the next day and I did not bother to reheat the pasta and it was good cold too!