You might look at peas (or the big shelling peas!) and think of frozen food dinners from your childhood, but they’re actually sweet and delicious to eat (and therapeutic to shell).
1-1.5 cups peas (from approximately 1-1.5 lbs shelling pea pods)
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tablespoons nut of your choice (I used pine nuts here, but cashews would also be great and bring an extra sweetness to the sauce), toasted and cooled
½ cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Approx. ⅓ cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
1 box pasta of your choice
Sliced fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley, oregano would all be good here)- optional
Prepare a small bowl with ice water. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Drop peas in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain peas and add to your ice bath.. drain your peas again.
In a food processor, combine ⅔ of your peas with the garlic, toasted nuts, ⅓ cup cheese, and salt and pulse until smooth. With the food processor running, add in the olive oil and lemon juice.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, then add some more. The key to delicious pasta is salty water!! Your boiling water should taste like the ocean!
Cook your pasta until al dente (about 2-3 minutes less than the package calls for.. trust me, it’s worth it here!). Save about a cup of pasta water before draining your pasta. Do not rinse the drained pasta!!
In a skillet, heat ¾-1 cup of your pea pesto. Once warm, add some pasta water, your drained pasta, and your reserved peas. The pasta will continue cooking here. Toss or stir to coat the pasta, adding more pesto and pasta water as needed.
Top with sliced fresh herbs and remaining cheese!