The fresh flavors of spring come together in this luscious pea, pistachio, and mint pesto made creamy with the addition of fresh ricotta cheese and tossed with bow tie (farfalle) pasta. Make sure you save some of the pasta cooking water, as it helps create a creamy sauce. As an added bonus, you can make the pesto up to 2 days ahead of serving time.
This recipe comes together quickly, but if you want a more substantial pasta meal, add diced ham or prosciutto. If you don't have pistachio nuts, blanched almonds or hazelnuts will work equally well. Pistachio oil is a specialty store item and very delicious, very expensive, but a fun item for your pantry; you can substitute olive oil, if you wish.
|2 cups||fresh or frozen (thawed) peas (divided)|
|2/3 cup||unsalted pistachios or blanched almonds or hazelnuts (divided)|
|1 small||clove garlic|
|1/2 cup||fresh ricotta cheese|
|2/3 cup||freshly grated Parmesan cheese (divided)|
|1/3 cup||pistachio oil or extra-virgin olive oil|
|3 tablespoons||chopped fresh mint|
|grated zest of 1 lemon|
|Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)|
|1 pound||bow tie pasta (6 cups cooked)|
If you're using fresh peas, bring a pan of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the peas for 90 seconds. Drain and plunge the peas into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. When cool, drain again and transfer 3/4 cup of the peas to a food processor. Reserve the remainder of the peas.
Add 1/3 cup of the nuts and the garlic to the peas in the food processor and process until the mixture is coarsely puréed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor at least once.
Add the ricotta cheese and 2 tablespoons of hot water to the food processor and process again until smooth. Add half of the parmesan, oil, mint, and lemon zest, and process until smooth. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper.
Roughly chop the remaining pistachio nuts and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to package directions. Remove and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta in a colander.
Return the pasta to the pot and add the pea pesto. Stir until the pasta is coated, adding some of the reserved pasta water as needed to create a creamy consistency. Stir in the reserved peas and divide the pasta among 6 warm plates. Sprinkle each serving with some of the chopped nuts and the reserved parmesan. Serve immediately.