We love experimenting with different variations of pesto, moving from the traditional recipe to one with fresh mint leaves in place of the basil, toasted pistachios instead of pine nuts, and chopped up pieces of feta cheese to replace the Parmesan cheese. It all comes together with the usual garlic and olive oil and you'll love the new, fresh taste which we've paired with a jamón and pea pasta!
What we're aiming for: Enough mint pesto to make 2 helpings of a sharing bowl of ham and pea pasta (plus leftovers)
The Components: The pesto
50g feta cheese - sliced into teeny tiny cubes
A handful of pistachios - de-shelled
A bunch of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped - stalks discarded
1 garlic clove - peeled
Extra Virgin olive oil
A little bit of regular olive oil for cooking
A couple pinches of sea salt and a pinch of black pepper
The Algorithm: The pesto (10 minutes)
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan and add the thinly sliced garlic clove to the oil - Let cook for 30sec to 1min, just until it's sizzling a bit and starting to appear more translucent, we just want it to start smelling delicious - Take off the heat and set aside
- Pound your pistachios with pestle and mortar until they are broken down into small chunks, but not too crumbly
- Now add the chopped mint leaves, pistachios and your slightly cooked garlic to a food processor and pulse until everything is completely mixed and the leaves have all been broken
- Scrape the mixture out into a small bowl, and add the feta cheese cubes, keeping some aside for garnish later - Add a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil, some sprinkles of salt and stir it all up to make a nice oily paste
- Your pesto is now ready as a sauce to add to any pasta, salad, pizza, sandwich, whatever. Here we'll tell you our favourite pasta recipe that we use with this mint pesto recipe as a fusion of traditional ham and pea dishes with the delicious combo of mint and pea!
The Components: The pasta
Enough pasta for each person dining - use your favourite shape for pesto like rigatoni or trofie twists
1/2 cup of peas (we like frozen if we can't find fresh petit pois) - this is enough for 2 people so add more if you need to
50g of jamón (or regular ham or bacon) - chopped into chunks
Sea salt and pepper to taste
The Algorithm: The pasta (10-15 minutes)
- Cook your pasta as you normally would in nice, salty water - just a couple minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, add the frozen peas to the boiling water - A couple minutes later, when the pasta and peas are done, drain and tip back into the saucepan
- In the meantime, using the pan in which you cooked the garlic, add a little bit more oil and cook the pieces of ham to your liking - sometimes we like it to be just slightly cooked (just heated through) and other times we like to cook it longer so it's crispy like bacon
- Add a scoop of pesto to the cooked pasta and peas, with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly Have a taste of the pasta, if you'd like it to be more strongly pesto-flavoured, then add another scoop or two until it's to your liking - Stir in the cooked jamón or ham
- Pour the entire contents of the pan into a nice serving bowl, top with the remaining feta cheese cubes and bring to the table to serve!
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