generally during the week i try and stay pretty healthy. big salads with protein, or turkey bacon and egg whites, and i limit my carbs to once a day considering bikini season is almost here. as i’ve mentioned before, i really notice the difference in eating cleaner, but some days i get a fierce craving for pasta that i can’t ignore. yesterday was one of those days. my big italian stomach wanted nothing more than perfectly cooked fresh pasta with minimal ingredients (the proper way to eat pasta). i wanted pasta doused in good olive oil, fresh parm, lots of fresh black pepper! i got this idea in my head of pistachio pesto, i had made a batch in the winter with sage which turned out beautifully. once i get a vision of what i want to make – i become fixated on it. unfortunately the grocery store by my apartment doesn’t carry pre-shelled pistachos for some reason unknown to me, so i bought a bag of them in the shell and raced home to shell pistachios like a madwoman. it was already past 7 and i was racing the sun so i had the perfect light for photos on the balcony. i think i won!
this pesto was fully worth the broken nail – roasted pistachios, handfuls of mint and basil, fresh parmesan from my nona (bless her and her vacuum sealer – every time i go home she vacuum packs cheeses and homemade sausage for me to take back), and a squeeze of lemon, it was the perfect sauce. i had also been wanting peas lately, since i had a dish at terroni with them in it – so sweet peas and salty panchetta were the perfect additions. and those cute little ear shaped noodles? those are called orecchiette – literally meaning small ear – and they get peas and pesto nestled into the middle so each bite is full of flavour. i used packaged fresh pasta- but homemade pasta is coming soon!
i topped it with basil from my new herb plants on the balcony. look how cute he is! and of course, a poached egg. what is more beautiful than yellow yolk slowly trickling from a poached egg? nothing, the answer is nothing (i’m serious about my poached eggs). the yolk also gave the pasta the texture of if having a richer, creamy sauce and blended all of the flavours together.
Orecchiette with Peas, Panchetta and Pistachio Mint Pesto
*recipe for pesto makes more than enough for pasta, refrigerate the rest and use on everything! i want to try it with grilled steaks and corn next
1 cup roasted, salted, shelled pistachios
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh parmesan
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup peas (i used frozen)
3 thin slices of panchetta
1 cup fresh orecchiette
1. Add pistachios, herbs, cheese and garlic and pulse in a food processor until everything is very roughly chopped, slowly add stream of olive oil and lemon juice until you reach the desired consitence. Add fresh pepper to taste if you want!
2. Bring a big pot of well salted water to a boil (it’s always best to use a big pot with lots of water instead of cramping the pasta – it cooks more evenly. thanks again nona 🙂 ). Once the water is boiling add pasta and cook until al-dente according to directions on the package.
3. Add peas and panchetta to a hot pan, tossing until panchetta is cripy and peas are cooked
4. Mix pasta, pesto, peas and panchetta with more fresh parmesan and chili flakes if you like spicy. I added a a tablespoon of pasta water to my bowl before mixing.
5. Adding a poached egg is optional but highly recomended!