This one is healthy, vegetarian, quick to prepare, easy and exactly what I want to eat in the springtime outside with a glass of white wine. An old school pesto usually contains pine nuts and basil but this one uses toasted hazelnuts and peas to make a nice sandwich spread or a quick pasta. For my vegan friends out there, just replace the cheese with extra hazelnuts until you get a nice consistency.
Toasted Hazelnut and Sweet Pea Pesto
- Food processor
- 1 Cup Fresh Peas
you can also use frozen peas, but they need to be thawed and you will add less water
- 1 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts whole, peeled
- 3/4 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 Cup Olive oil the best quality you can find. Although not too strong as you want to taste the hazelnuts and peas.
- 1 Lemon zested
- 1 Bunch Fresh Basil
- 150 g Fresh Spinach about two big handfuls, washed and dried
- Ice Water
- Get your hazelnuts toasting in the oven on a sheet tray until nicely golden. I would go for about 7-10 minutes at 375F/190C. As soon as they come out of the oven nice and hot, season with a bit of salt. This way the salt sticks better. Let this cool completely.
- Using a food processor, add the cooled hazelnuts, grated parmigiano, garlic, half the peas and half the olive oil and pulse until it’s nicely broken down but not too fine. Pulse to your liking. Now remove this from the processor and set aside in a bowl.
- Next add everything else to the processor - spinach, peas, basil and the lemon zest. Blend until smooth by feeding in the rest of the olive oil. The secret ingredient here is ice water. You want to add a couple of tablespoons of ice water to help everything blend together and to also keep the vegetables cold. The water you have to add depends on how much water is left on your spinach or if the peas were frozen and leaching some water. The consistency of the pesto should be nice to spread on toast.
- After everything is mixed, check if it needs salt or pepper. You can add lemon juice if you like but then you need to serve it right away because this will ruin the gorgeous green colour.
- If you’re using this for pasta, leave it at room temperature and cook your pasta. Add plenty of the pasta water to this sauce to warm it up. Try to cook the pesto as little as possible to keep the fresh taste of the pesto. Enjoy!