Simon’s Pea Shoot Pesto
Our newest chief engineer, Simon’s background is as an electronics engineer. A passionate foodie, he is well travelled, has an extensive cookbook collection as well as a keen interest in both photography and brewing. This lovely little pesto recipe is his first blog post:
“I got married recently and, in a roundabout way, this pesto recipe is a direct result of that. We wanted a pretty simple, inexpensive, rustic arrangement for the wedding tables and ended up growing herbs in old tin cans as centre-pieces. Most of them grew really well… too well. Our city flat had greenery laden tin cans on every window sill and flat surface that got sunlight. Unfortunately we were fully committed before I discovered that around 120 potted herbs can need upwards of an hour of trimming and watering every other day to keep them happy. This recipe was one of the creations that I came up with to use up the off-cuts, which on some days was a big, big bowl.
“Pea shoots were the fastest growers of all the things we used. The 400g/14oz tin can shown (see photo) was only planted about 3-4 weeks ago. I think the particular variety was “Fiji Feathers” which is intended for sprouting, but I reckon this would work with anything similar. I just filled the tin with potting mix, added lots of peas with another centimetre of dirt on top and watered well. They’re fascinating little plants with their little grabby tendrils. I think that they’d be fun as a project with kids as they don’t have a long investment time before you can munch on them, throw them into salads or use them to make pesto.
“The recipe below is good, but by no means set in stone. At some point in the future I want to try a different herb mix, another cheese, changing the nuts, or toasting the cashews. It’s great freshly made over pasta for a light dinner in warm weather, but can also be frozen in portions and then broken out for a quick mid-week meal or kept for a hit of springtime in a colder season. Of course, you can always skip the pasta and eat it with cheese and crackers. I wonder what it’s like in ravioli…”
Pesto for 8 servings of pasta--
2 overflowing handfuls of pea shoots (~65g)
1 large handful of mint leaves (~15g)
2 cups (250g) raw cashew nuts
125g blue cheese
Between 2/3 and 1 cup of olive oil
1.Chop the pea shoots into short lengths (to help the blender out)
2. Put herbs, nuts and cheese in a blender and run until everything is broken up, but still a little coarse.
3. Add olive oil in a stream until desired consistency is reached.
To serve over pasta, drop 100g of dried pasta per serve into boiling salted water. When the pasta is just cooked drain it, reserving some of the cooking water. Mix the pesto and pasta in a large bowl, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen the pesto. Serve with a few gratings of parmesan and/or a splash more olive oil.