I often create recipes based on the dominant color of an ingredient. Some time ago, for example, starting from the deep golden yellow of the corn flour I made one of my favorite desserts, a corn cake with limoncello, and since then I have repeated it in more than a special occasion. This time the main theme is green.
The peas are green, just shelled, they are crisp and sweet and make that fun sound when they fall into the bowl, just like gentle and muffled rain.
The table setting is green, green from the heavy glass to the small bowls to serve individually crispy bacon and goat cheese to match the pea pesto. The result is a fresh and carefree table, where everyone is welcomed and doesn’t panic if the tablecloth gets stained with the pesto, everything is nothing but green!
The green, in all its nuances, has always been my favourite colour: the tender green of the spring new grass, the deep green of the Northern Europe forests, full of stories and legends, the emerald green of the tropical seas and the acid green of my favourite t-shirt as a child.
Green is the colour of Ireland: I loved this country immediately, in my dreams and in front of my eyes it was the Emerald Isle, where the green of the hills is so intense and vivid that it seems to vibrate with its nuances and chase the clouds running in the sky. But green is also the Val d’Orcia in spring, with its velvet hills, put there by a careful and caring hand.
Even my eyes are green: this is my favourite trait since I can remember, I do not know why exactly, but the fact that they were somehow related to the colour of the leaves and the lawn has always given what idea of mysterious elvish magic, which so fascinated my mind as a child, and still does!
And today the pasta is green: pesto is my favourite seasoning for pasta, being it with basil, pistachios or arugula, I find it can turn whatever pasta in a quick and tasty recipe, a riot of colours and flavours … try it with peas, sweet crispy bacon and crumbly goat cheese to make your pasta even more tasty!
PASTA WITH PEA PESTO, CRUNCHY BACON AND GOAT CHEESE
- 350 g of fresh shelled peas – in not in season, frozen are perfect as well
- about 20 mint leaves
- about 20 basil leaves
- 1 cup (125 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- 320 g of pasta (I used farfalle, butterflies, they are so nice)
- 100 g sweet bacon, diced
- 100 g of fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- Blanch the peas into boiling salted water for about 5 minutes, then drain them and place them under cold running water to preserve their bright green colour.
- Combine the blanched peas into a blender along with the mint and basil leaves, a pinch of salt and about 125 ml of extra virgin olive oil: purée all the ingredients until you have a smooth paste. Season with salt, if necessary.
- While the pasta is cooking in salted boiling water, put the bacon in a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil and brown it until it becomes very crispy and has thrown out all the fat. Then remove it from the pan and put it to dry in a dish with a sheet of kitchen paper. When it is cold, chop it on a cutting board with a knife, to get crumbs of bacon.
- Drain the pasta and season it with pea pesto, crispy bacon and crumbled fresh goat cheese.
After such a clever and intriguing recipe to have children eat vegetables, head over to Jamie Oliver’s web site to read something about my cooking classes for children!