Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pea tendril pesto

This week, we got a very large bag of pea tendrils from the farm.  Here's the bag, after we've already used some of the tendrils for salads.
I don't think you can get the scale of the bag in that photo; it contains 11 ounces of tendrils.  So here it is with a teaspoon next to it.

Wash them in the salad spinner.  11 ounces filled my spinner twice.

Toast 2 cups of walnuts.

Cram as many pea tendrils as you can into the food processor bowl.  Mine is a 9 cup bowl.  I fit an entire salad spinner of tendrils into it.  (I do the same with basil pesto as well.  It makes the process go more quickly.)

Add 1 cup of the walnuts, then drizzle in some olive oil.

After processing, I put (crammed) the rest of the tendrils and walnuts into the bowl (on top of the already chopped tendrils and walnuts), then more olive oil.  Note that I don't put in salt.  I've found that salting at this stage can lead to oversalted pesto.

At this point, I tasted it, as did the husband, who said it was grassy.  Never a good thing.  I had thought about blanching the tendrils, but hadn't.  Blanching might have taken off this raw, grassy edge.

With my 11 ounces of pea tendrils, I had enough pesto for 6 meals.  I freeze the extra in cupcake tins (covered, but left the cover off in the photo below).  Once frozen, they can be popped out and put into a freezer bag or other container.
Add cheese to the rest of the pesto in your bowl.  I'd add 1/2-3/4 cup, as I like cheese.  I also tend to use pecorino romano (which is likely why my pesto ends up a bit salty if I add extra salt).

To make it into more of a sauce, add some of the pasta water as your pasta is cooking.  I added a bit over a 1/2 cup to get it to look like this photo:
When your pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pan.  Scrape the pesto out of your food processor bowl and mix it into the pasta. I cooked over low heat for a minute or so.  This cooking took off the grassy edge that the husband had noted, so blanching probably isn't necessary.
Verdict: While I still prefer pesto made with basil, it was a good way to use a huge bag of pea tendrils that I don't think we'd have been able to use in salads alone.  In the summer, when the herb garden isn't under snow, I might add a bit of mint to the pesto.  Of course, by the time my mint is up, it won't be pea tendril season anymore.

1 comment:

  1. What a rockin' idea!

    Maybe dried mint would be nice? You could try just sprinkling it over the pesto-dressed pasta, next time you use it?