March 24, 2014 by Dewi
This is a really useful store-cupboard recipe which came about when I was having one of those empty-fridge-days which always lead to a vast kitchen expedition, scaling the worktops to reach those tins lurking in the darkness at the back of the highest shelves. The result was recipe for a pesto made slightly differently; using peas and beans in place of the usual nuts (Nut-allergy sufferers of the world, rejoice!). You could call it a ‘pea-sto’ if you were that way inclined. Or maybe not.
When the pulses are blitzed with the oil and parmesan, the result is a soft, creamy pesto which is great for stirring through al dente pasta. I used spaghetti here simply because it was what I had in the cupboard at the time, but this is such a versatile dish that you really can use whichever pasta you like or have to hand.
The poached egg is entirely optional. I just love what it adds to the dish, especially when you break the runny yolk which then coats the pasta. The basil reminds you that this is an Italian pesto while the mint is there simply because mint and peas are best friends and it wouldn’t be very kind to separate them, would it?
This is a quick little dish, too; taking well under 15 minutes from start to finish. Perfect for lunch or a light supper.
- 60g frozen or fresh peas
- 60g tinned broad beans, drained
- 60g tinned butter beans, drained
- Small bunch of basil, roughly chopped
- Small bunch of mint, roughly chopped
- Tbsp freshly grated parmesan (plus a load more to garnish)
- 3 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 120g spaghetti (in reality, any pasta would work here)
- 2 large free range eggs (optional)
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water as per the packet instructions, until al dente.
In another pan of boiling salted water, blanch the peas and beans for 2-3 minutes.
Using a pestle and mortar, bash up the garlic, mint and basil. Add the peas, beans and cheese and pound to form a coarse paste.
Add the olive oil, season carefully and mix.
If you’re adding the poached egg, then add a splash of vinegar to a pan of salted water and place over a high heat until the water starts to simmer (when small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan).
Lower the heat to medium and, using a slotted spoon, stir the water to make a small whirlpool in the pan. Carefully pour the egg into the centre of the whirlpool, this will help the egg to keep its shape.
Poach over a medium heat for about 3 minutes, for a soft and runny yolk.
Now, drain the pasta (reserving some of the cooking water).
Stir in the pesto and the reserved pasta water, and any extra oil if required.
Serve with heaps more parmesan and top with the egg.