Pasta with Pea Pesto and a Fried Egg

This post could also be called post-Thanksgiving what in the world do you make with only a half bag of frozen peas and literally no other produce. We got back from a visit with my family for the holiday. It was perfect: lots of fires, eating, sleeping, farm-going, and just relaxing. We were so grateful to have a break from what has been a very busy fall.

However, I haven’t gone grocery shopping since well before the holiday and our pickings were limited to the freezer and pantry for tonight’s meal (I also managed to salvage some herbs that have lasted outside through the last few frosts). This is kind of like a reverse carbonara, with the egg sitting on top of the pasta instead of in a creamy sauce, and the peas made into a creamy sauce instead of on top of the pasta. It was a great hearty winter meal with the farm egg on top, but it’s also great (and slightly lighter) without–so, take your pick either way.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Miss you lots.

peas and egg

Pasta with Pea Pesto and a Fried Egg

  • 1 lb. spaghetti, or other pasta
  • 1 1/4 C. frozen peas, defrosted
  • large handful of herbs (mine were parsley, sage, and chives)
  • 1/8-1/4 C. olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 C. almonds
  • 1/4 C. crumbled feta (or more, to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • eggs (one for each person)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, make the pesto. Combine the peas, almonds, and herbs in the food processor and pulse till coarsely chopped. Add the juice and zest of the lemon and run motor. With motor running, add enough olive oil to make a smooth paste. Taste for salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water. When almost done, fry an egg–one for each person–sunny side up. Reserve 1/2 C. of pasta water and then drain the pasta. Toss the pasta with the pesto and enough water to make a creamy sauce. Toss pasta with the feta and then plate pasta. Serve each pasta portion with a fried egg on top.

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Italian Peasant Pasta

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This is a fun and simple recipe based on a pasta dish that I had a few weeks ago at Spadaro – an incredible little gem of a restaurant located in a random strip mall in the suburbs near my parents’ house. It’s a favorite of my parents’ for taking friends and family out, and my brother and I both insist on going there whenever we’re home! Its an unassuming store front from the outside, flanked by a fried chicken place and a pizza place, but upon opening the door one finds a little piece of heaven – a small, cramped place with heavenly smells of salty, garlicky marinara sauce, run by a boisterous Italian family that know almost all their customers by name and who used to have a restaurant in Rome before they immigrated here. There is no menu because everything they serve is totally fresh, inspired by whatever ingredients they got that week, and is to-die-for delicious.

The version I made was with chard and lima beans because this is what we had in the kitchen, though the authentic version at Spadaro was made with dandelion greens (hard to find, no?) and fava beans.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 servings pasta – something that catches sauce well
  • 2-3 cups cooked chard or dandelion greens
  • ~1 cup dried lima or fava beans
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 leek
  • 1 cup pecorino romano, shredded
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • 1-2 tbsp pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preparing the beans: You want them to be REALLY soft! Soak them for 48 hours, then boil for 1.5-2 hours or until they fall apart with a light squeeze.
  2. Mince the garlic and dice the leek. Sautee both with the pepper flakes in butter for a few minutes.
  3. Either mince the cooked chard as small as you can or put it in a food processor. (The latter would be ideal, but I don’t have one!) If using dandelion greens you don’t really need to do this step – simply cook them until they are wilted. Put the greens into the pan with the garlic and leek.
  4. Mash the beans with your hand – grab a handful and squeeeeeze! Its find if they’re not evenly mashed. Add these to the pan as well.
  5. Add ~1/2 cup of the pecorino romano as well as the olive oil and half and half to the pan. Let everything heat up together, stirring regularly, for 5-10 minutes so that all the flavors combine. Play around with the quantity of half and half and olive oil to achieve your preferred consistency – I made it a thick, though you could certainly make it a little more liquidy.
  6. Season with plenty of freshly ground pepper and garnish with the rest of the pecorino romano.

Kale Pesto Pasta

Kale Pesto Pasta

Has it really been almost a month since any of us have posted? We have all been crazy with moving, working, planning for weddings (!), so if you all are like me, it has been a task just to get any kind of food on the table.

We moved to Knoxville a few days ago and were lucky enough to bring along with us a cooler full of goodies from my Uncle David’s gorgeous garden, including a ginormous bag of kale. So, if you haven’t had enough of our kale recipes, here’s one more. It went on the table in a jiffy, which was good since we were starving after unpacking all day and we were also ready for something home-cooked.

This is a good recipe to riff on, as evidenced by the inspiration recipe from 101 Cookbooks. Next time, I’ll try adding some basil or spinach to round it out. Of course, you can add lots of garlic and shallot like she did in the original, but too much garlic gives me heartburn, so I added it with a light hand. It also wouldn’t have hurt to toss in some lemon zest as well since I was already juicing the lemon. Next time, next time . . .

Kale Pesto Spaghetti with Feta Cheese

adapted from Winter Pasta, 101 Cookbooks

  • 1 small bunch kale
  • small handful of parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • salt, to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 C. or so of olive oil
  • zest of half a lemon (optional)
  • a handful of basil and/or spinach (optional)
  • 1/4 C. walnuts
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • approximately 2 Tb. hot pasta water
  • 1/4 C. crumbled feta

Get the pasta water going. In the meantime, break off any hardy stems from the kale leaves. Using your hands, rip the kale leaves into big pieces and toss in the food processor. Add the parsley and any other herbs or spinach, and then either add the garlic clove put through a garlic press or minced by hand. Add a bit of salt, the lemon juice, and start the food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil slowly. Once the mixture has come together, add the walnuts and lemon zest, if desired, and then process. You can add a Tb. or so of water to get the mixture smooth. Taste the mixture for salt and set aside.

Once the pasta water is going, cook the spaghetti. When the pasta is done, save a few tablespoons of the hot, starchy pasta water. Drain the pasta and then toss it with the pesto, adding the hot pasta water if needed to evenly coat the pasta with the pesto. Toss in the crumbled feta and serve while hot.