My garden is just starting to produce a few of my favorite spring-summer ingredients — the basil plants are looking robust and my English peas are climbing the trellises. I’m jumping on the opportunity to pluck the basil and blend up a batch of simple, fragrant homemade pesto sauce with a twist — this version has peas blended into the sauce as well as tossed whole with al dente pesto-coated pasta. The benefit of pesto is that even loosely following a recipe will yield good results, you can always play around with proportions and it’ll almost always taste good! Mix it with any pasta shape of your choice, I love these long curly fusilli that capture the pesto and peas in each twist of the fork. Get the full recipe below:

Pasta, Pesto and Peas.
  • 2 Cups of Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1 Cup of Fresh English Peas, divided
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons of Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ⅓ Cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Pound of Pasta, your choice!
  • Reserved pasta water
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente. During the last 1-2 minutes of cooking, add ¾ cup of the fresh English Peas to the water. Reserve about ¼ cup of the pasta water before draining.
  2. In a blender or food processor combine fresh basil leaves, the remaining ¼ cup of fresh English peas, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and olive oil; blend to combine.
  3. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese to the pesto and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss pesto with drained pasta and peas and a spoonful of the reserved pasta water to coat the noodles. Add more pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.