linguine with pea pesto

Even though I have a lot of book left to write (unless you’re my editor, in which case, just kidding, almost done!) and deadlines both before and after that one requiring my attention, endless paperwork, emails and all sorts of tiresome things on my real-life agenda, I’ve decided to focus my daydreaming on something more aspirational: what to cook on a lazy summer night.

in pods

We rented a beach house for a week last year but were surprised to find that 11-month olds don’t always sleep in foreign locations. At all. We staggered through the week and ate out a lot. I’d like us all to do better this year. In an area full of farm stands and wineries, with a kitchen bigger than a shoebox, with a grill and a deck, it’s a shame not to be cooking at home as much as we can. But leisurely, with as few ingredients as possible and at least one of them straight off the farm.

simmer briefly

Here’s my first offering in that category. I admitted last year that previously, I wasn’t really into peas. I mean, I like them in curries and I’ve never, ever picked them out of food and let them roll onto the floor like some other nameless people in this family, but I wasn’t charmed by them until I started buying them fresh, flicking them from their pods and blanching them long enough to just barely cook them, so they still retained a slight crunch. It changed everything. Peas are bright and flavorful and endlessly early summerish, oh, and inexpensive. I’ve been known to take a few days to get to them and they still don’t go bad — try that with just-picked berries. (Actually, please don’t. Just eat as much as you can and then a little more because they don’t last.)

ready to whirl
pea pesto

And this is a pea pesto. You cook the peas briefly enough that they stay a little resistant, and whirl most of them in the food processor with well-toasted pine nuts, grated parmesan, garlic, salt and olive oil. You then toss it with linguine and a whole lot of its cooking water and the peas you didn’t pesto (yeah, I just verb-ed pesto; my poor editor has her work cut out!) and it smooths into a sauce. A green sauce with green polka-dots. More or less, I want this dish to be a dress, but I’ll settle for it being dinner. Fortunately, it hardly feels like compromise.


One year ago: Bread and Butter Pickles and Blue Cheese and Red Potato Tart
Two years ago: Strawberries and Dumplings and Horseradish Potato Salad
Three years ago: Sweet Cherry Pie
Four years ago: Dilled Potato and Pickled Cucumber Potato Salad

Linguine with Pea Pesto

1 1/2 cups (from approximately 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) fresh pea or a 10-ounce package frozen peas, defrosted
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup (1 1/8 ounces) finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon table salt, plus more for pasta water
1/3 cup olive oil
12 ounces dried linguine
Garnish (optional): thinly slivered basil or mint leaves

If you’re completely maniacal about your peas getting overcooked (I am!), prepare an ice bath, a large bowl filled with ice water. Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes (this leaves them with a bit of structure). Drain peas then add them to the ice bath (if using) and drain again. If you haven’t used an ice bath, let your peas cool to lukewarm before making the pesto.

Set aside 1/2 cup of your cooked peas. Whirl the remaining cup of peas in the work bowl of a food processor with garlic, pine nuts, 1/3 cup parmesan and salt until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil. You can stop right here, toast some baguette slices and make some fine, fine crostini. Or, you can continue…

Cook your linguine until al dente. Reserve about two cups pasta cooking water (yes, this is a lot, the pea pesto will be surprisingly thick) then drain linguine and return it to pot. Over moderate heat, toss pasta with pesto, reserved peas and as much reserved pasta water as needed to smooth and distribute pesto; let cook for one minute so that the pesto adheres. Adjust salt to taste, add freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh herbs, if using, and remaining parmesan for passing.

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354 comments on linguine with pea pesto

  1. Fresh peas are really awesome. Much better than canned. But I find frozen are really quite a good substitute.

    As for canned peas, I never really liked them because of their mushy texture but last night I actually coarsely mashed them with butter and cider vinegar to make them creamy and they were SO good. I think I found a new love for canned peas.

  2. Those peas are such a gorgeous color! I’ve never cooked with peas fresh from the pod (gasp!), but this recipe is inspiring me to do so. I’ll eat anything in pesto form. And I love the idea of pasta with polka dots. If you made this for me, I wouldn’t dream of picking my peas out and throwing them on the floor :)

  3. Sally

    This is perfect! I LOVE fresh peas – I’m a total fanatic – and just went to a local farm and bought basil, and made boatloads of it… I used the BC recipe, but it was a smidge too garlicy for me (and for my 5 yo). Can’t wait to try this :)

  4. Oh how I wish I had a food processor! Or blender! Or any kitchen electronics! (that’s the major trouble with moving continents, but electronics are surely in my future!)

  5. You just “verb-ed” verb too! For shame! :)

    Love the idea of pea pesto. I also so an avocado pesto once which is lovely except that the green doesn’t last very long so you have to eat the whole bowl like immediately, or suffer the strange brown goop.

    So would it be worth it to make this with frozen peas?

  6. erin

    This sounds delicious! I bet it would be great cold, too!

    One question: is there an acceptable substitute for pine nuts (or nuts of any kind, really) in pesto if one is perhaps allergic to nuts?

    1. Rachel

      It has been 12 years since you left your comment, but in case you’re still wondering, or for anyone else, I’ve successfully made this with sunflower seed kernels before!

  7. I love seeing recipes for pureed peas. I ate a LOT on them (albeit frozen ones) schmeared on bread when I wa a broke college kid. I called this delicacy “peas on toast,” and it tickles me to no end to see people actually consider it a “real” recipe.

  8. This looks delicious..I am such a huge fan of homemade pesto. This is perfect for weekday cooking and for entertaining. And since we try and eat mostly vegetarian food I am always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes!

  9. michele

    hey deb, think this would work over spaghetti squash for someone who can’t eat pasta? i’ve used it with a turkey meat sauce, but wanted to get your thoughts on the pea/squash combo. thanks!

  10. It must be summer! I’ve seen pesto recipes popping up on several of the food blogs I read, and I just harvested my first bag of basil to make a batch of my own!

    I would love to try making pea pesto. Do you imagine it would freeze as well as basil pesto does in little ice cube trays?

  11. Kate

    Where was that amazing house you went to last year? (Not exactly, just the rough neighbourhood will do!) It looked amazing and now you’re making me drool over it again!
    (Waiting for the peas in the garden to fatten up before we can start all that lovely popping.)

    1. deb

      Kate — We went to the North Fork, on Long Island, possibly one of my favorite places on earth. The house isn’t fancy or even large, but coming from a tiny apartment, it was a lovely reprieve.

  12. How funny – this is the dinner my friend’s mother made for me when I was 14 years old and I’ve been cooking it ever since (to the chagrin of my family who don’t like the idea of pureed peas)! Now that this meal has smitten kitchen backing though, i’ll see if I can get them to change their minds. Thanks Deb!

  13. Mmm, I made something similar to this last year. It was so good, and a nice change from standard basil pesto! It’s also good spread in a wrap or pita sandwich!

  14. Peas are a constant summer fixture in my kitchen, there’s usually a big bowl of them on the counter for dipping into – I eat the peas and my house rabbits get the pods. I’ll have to have a go at the pesto, looks yummy!

  15. It’s been so hot and humid that I don’t like cooking too much – but this looks great! I’m on a basil kick right now (have some growing in my garden) – can’t wait to try this!!

  16. Katie

    Wish you had posted this last week when I got lots of peas from my CSA. I didn’t use them in nearly such a delicious way. I might try and track down more at the farmers market just to make this dish happen. PS- the piano pic is amazing!

  17. katie in kansas

    I am DYING to make this. I love pesto so much, but here is my dilemma: my boyfriend is highly allergic to pine nuts. I’ve heard of substituting walnuts for pine nuts…. Deb do you think walnuts could work in this recipe?

  18. Deb, I’m not so sure about this one. I’m sure it is delicious if you are telling me it is, but I can honestly say this is the first thing you have ever posted that just does not sound appealing. Are you sure this wasn’t meant for the baby food site?
    I do kid and I love everything here. I’m just not so sure about pea pesto. I might just have to try it so you can prove me wrong. The pictures of Jacob are adorable BTW.

  19. Ingrid

    I honestly can’t understand how I haven’t discovered your blog until recently. My first thought when I entered was “gosh, those pictures are perfect!” and then “this is way too much text for me to get through…”. But as soon as I started reading I instantly fell in love with your writing and found myself thinking “I would love to have a friend like this” and browsing through your previous posts, reading everything and laughing a lot. I love, love, love your blog. Love.

  20. BLP

    Can we say DELICIOUS ZOMG What have you done to the peas? I do not even recognize the world’s (al)most-hated vegetable when you dress it up like that! Hmm, so fancy!

  21. Amy D

    You know, pea petso (or any pesto) smeared on good bread sounds like it would go amazingly well with the home made ricotta from your last post ….which was an amazing thing to make, have to try this tonight!

  22. Hey, I was just wondering how I was going to stretch my 1/4 cup of pesto into two servings. Now I can make pesto-pasta dinner for 2, instead of one. Which will make a certain “other half” happy…

  23. I love fresh peas & my hubby doesn’t. I wonder if I could sneak this in without him ever suspecting that it had peas in it ;-) If not, I’d happily eat the whole thing myself!! Looks like a great summer recipe!

  24. Beth

    What do you think about using some of that delicious ricotta in this awesome looking pea dish? Would that be too heavy? When would you add it? Peas and ricotta…swoon!

  25. I made a pea puree or pesto earlier this summer with raw peas and fava beans but I missed the opportunity to make pesto with cooked peas before they went out of season here in So Cal. This dish looks amazing, I can almost taste those sweet, grassy fresh peas!

  26. This looks SO GOOD! I’ve always had thing for peas, but this year I kind of ran out of ideas for what to do with them. This recipe has me crossing my fingers that there will be some left at the farmer’s market this weekend!!

  27. yum – thank you! i’m picking up 3 pounds of peas today in my csa box, and i’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it all – i can’t wait to try this out.

  28. Amy

    Ahh I just made a pesto made out of broccoli yesterday (Heidi Swanson recipe) but I was really wishing for and wanting some pea pesto. Yours looks so good and can’t wait to make it!

  29. Melanie’s Randomness

    Looks delicious!! Pesto is my guilty pleasure. I love it! I’ve never had pea pesto. Sounds healthy and delicious! =)

  30. My father instilled in me a love for English peas eaten straight out of the pod — I don’t think they’d ever make their way into a cooked dish into my house! One of my favorite simple joys of summer.

  31. emily

    I think shrimp would be a lovely protein addition to this recipe, especially at the beach. here in the sunny (read: STINKY HOT) south, the fresh peas are already gone, so I’ll have to make do with frozen for now.

  32. Deneen

    I’ve been making a lot of spinach pesto lately. Made a double batch & put the leftovers in an ice cube tray to freeze for later use. Perfect for a quick meal…and the aroma is pure heaven.

  33. This sounds wonderful! I’m dying to add a dash of white wine added to the pesto and maybe nestle a few seared scallops on top. One of my all-time favorite pasta dishes is your roasted eggplant pasta; I use it as written, and it’s also the perfect recipe to tweak for when it’s time to clean out the crisper drawer. Your propensity for pureeing veggies as pasta sauce has resurrected my love for pasta and its possibilities. :) Thanks, Deb!

  34. I’ve never used fresh peas before, but this looks lovely to try! I do have a question about your food processor though. I used my old one for over 14 years until it finally started sparking :/ I’ve read Cook’s write up about comparing different ones, with kitchenaid coming in first… before I commit to spending the dough, do you have a fav? :)

  35. Doh! This recipe came one day too late! I made pea and lemon risotto last night with my CSA peas. My 4-year-old loves to help shell them. Fingers crossed we get more peas in next week’s share so we can make this.

  36. This looks delicious! Peas are without doubt my favourite vegetable & I’ll definitely be making this soon :)

    May I also just say I love your blog & your little boy is the cutest thing I have ever seen! Keep up the good work & I think your book’s gonna be a must-buy!

    Lois xxx

  37. Nicole

    I don’t eat a lot of green (I know, for shame) but this looks DELICIOUS. Love the Italian streak on your blog recently.

  38. Hannah

    This looks lovely! How well does it keep in the refrigerator? I’m just cooking for myself, so I generally have to spread meals out over a few days even if I halve the recipe.

  39. I love fresh peas as well. This year we’ve decided to use a part of our back yard as a vegetable plot – so, luckily enough, we have peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and egg plants. Not to mention all those fresh herbs that we love so much.
    Pea pesto sounds great; I might use it with whole-grain pasta.

  40. beetree, I’m on my third food processor now, and it’s a Kitchenaid. I absolutely LOVE it. I swear I could power a boat with this thing. Just my two cents. :-) I’ve also heard great things about Cuisinart, though.

  41. What a beautiful post! Just gorgeous! Are you going to do all future posts with Jacob in color coordinated attire? Ha! I bet not, but he’s always such a great addition! He’s lagniappe!

  42. rose

    peggy – although i haven’t tried this pesto (thought i LOVE the idea!), i recently made edamame pesto and decided to leave out the nuts to see what it would taste like. it was great! i love pesto with nuts, but the addition of peas/a bean could make nuts optional.
    i used edamame, arugula, basil, olive oil, parmesan, garlic and lemon zest/juice and it was so good!

  43. #17 / michelle – I make an edamame pesto over spaghetti squash, and its pretty awesome. i bet the pea pesto would work in a similar manner.

    deb – thanks for the inspiration! my dad just brought me a bag of peas from his garden and i’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. i think i’ll make this tonight over fish, since we had pasta last night.

  44. Sounds great. We’re about to head to VT for vacation… splitting a house with two other families, and this will definitely make an appearance. I’m thinking a big ‘ol pot of it for slapping on pasta as needed to feed whoever is hungry. Thanks!

  45. Andrew

    I LOVE pea pesto. I make it occasionally with edamame and it is truly fantastic. Pretty much the exact same recipe as here, just with edamame.

  46. “but were surprised to find that 11-month olds don’t always sleep in foreign locations. At all.”–

    It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it. Til you’re the mom and realize that sleep..what’s that? Oh yes, that’s that thing you used to do before becoming a mom.

    The pea pesto looks wonderful!

    The photography with the black and green combo is very striking!

  47. I am thinking that your pea puree would taste phenomenal in little ravioli too. We have so many lovely peas in our garden right now and I absolutely agree with you–they are a whole different animal then frozen cooked peas. My kiddos and I often just eat the small ones raw.

    One fabulous thing you can do when you want fresh peas, but don’t want to spend an hour prying out several pounds is to mix them with their other spring cousins favas and artichokes and some fresh herbs. I just posted on this.

    1. deb

      Gretchen — It sounds like it could work. But if it doesn’t, you can always mince everything with a big knife on a cutting board. It will be harder to get smooth, though.

  48. Your pasta dishes make we weak. Especially since they’re so easy to turn vegan. Making this for dinner tonight – the linguine is on the stove! Thanks for being such a gem and making dinner nights delicious + easy!

  49. Elle

    A few weeks ago I made a pea pesto with some lemon juice to brighten it up. Now you’re making my mouth water for some more pea pesto!

  50. YUM YUM YUM! If and when my peas take off this year, I will be making this frequently!! I may have to hit some of our local farms this week to grab some peas. Delish suggestion, thanks!

  51. Noa

    I love fresh peas. My very favourite way of eating them is just like that – raw. right out of the pod. When they are good, they are SO good.

  52. I similarly have never been a huge pea fan, but maybe I should follow suit and get some fresh ones still in their pods? On another note, I love how pestos can be made out of so many great combos, and the bright green color is so pleasant and summery! I guess this’ll have to be the recipe I go to when I get me some of those peas in pods!

  53. Stephanie

    I save empty pea pods in a freezer bag in the freezer and add them to soup stock! The best way to get the sweetness out…

    And I’m SO making this!

  54. pasta is the perfect depanneur – and with fresh herbs in abundance, the combinations are endless. happy to see the use of pine nuts here – they seem to be used less and less in pesto these days.

  55. Ariel

    Had it for dinner tonight – instead of going to Red Rooster :-( – and it was great! I mixed in some of the ricotta that I made yesterday when I was mixing in the pesto and pasta water and it added a nice lemony-ness. Best part: I made it all with stuff I already had in the house :-)

  56. Sas

    Made this dish for dinner with fresh peas and am about to pass out in a delightful food coma. Thank you for making this possible.

  57. Taline

    I have to omit the pine nuts because my son has nut allergies, do you think it would be fine without, or any suggestions for substitutions?

  58. Karen

    What I love about your cooking is your creativity to take a traditional dish, maintain the technique and play with the ingredients to come up with something new and exciting. Romaine pesto and pea pesto are great examples; it really inspires me to try my own variations and not be reliant on recipes. Thank you Deb!

  59. They’ll have to name a paint colour “pea pesto”. It’s pretty close to the shade of my last kitchen (we had black countertops, too)! We served a similar dish at the Union Street Cafe and as in emily’s comment, we used frozen peas (yes! a nearly undetectable cheat with everything else going on here) and shrimp. The pink shrimp are gorgeous with the green sauce!

  60. What I don’t understand is how you manage to shell them all without eating them! I can’t even get them home on the subway. Half of them are gone by the time I leave the greenmarket!

  61. Bee

    Peas look so cute, it’s a very happy vegetable I think. I just made those speltcrackers you wrote about some time ago so I think I’ll be topping them off with this… Yum yum. Thanks for posting, this website is such an inspiration.
    Charlotte, it’s raining in the Netherlands too… As we say in Dutch, shared misery is half of the misery. Thank god we can bring summer into the kitchen, right?

  62. I hear ya… we just give in now when we’re out of town and let our youngin jump in the bed with us. At least we all, sleep. Isn’t it hard? Our trips always involve wanting to take it all in, sometimes with people we don’t see often… and there we are, tired 3-year old with all of the accompanying fun to boot. I hope this year *is* indeed a different year for you. Here’s to coffee. :)
    As for the pea pesto, I’m intrigued… a kid friendly pesto. I dig it.

  63. Catherine M

    Deb–Jacques Pepin has a recipe for a potato and leek-based soup made with the leftover pods. Once the mixture goes through the food mill, you are left with translucent, sometimes transparent, almost glassine-looking ellipses of fiber from the pods and THAT is ALL. It is a perfect bonus recipe: simple, delicious, bountiful and frugal! I can’t recommend it highly enough.


    They are my 4th top summer veg
    (1 – asparagus
    2 – courgette flowers
    3 – broad beans
    4 – fresh shelled peas – just in case your were interested)

    Great post Deb – a joy to read and as wonderful as ever.

  65. Claire

    I am pretty new to reading smitten kitchen and have only read half a dozen entries or so (how could I not sign up after the fudge popsicles though?) and I have just made a terribly bastardised version of this for dinner, I used sunflower seeds instead of the pine nuts, I tossed in some ground nuts, just a blend of almonds, cashews, walnuts and brazil nuts which I try to keep on hand, a little plin yoghurt and some parmesan. Unfortunately frozen peas too as it’s winter here.

    So really it was more inspired by than this recipe at all, but hey it was good and I will come back and do a more faithful version of this.

  66. Jan

    for erin:…..I have used sunflower seeds as a substitute for pine nuts when my cupboard has been bare. Not quite as good but doable….and cheaper..

  67. tj

    …I love peas and I love this!

    …I know my husband would never go for this and he is on a kind of ‘mancation’ right now so I will me making this tonite for me. And maybe I’ll have dinner out on the screen porch and enjoy a glass of wine. I kind of consider myself on a ‘chickation’ now too… ;o)

    …Thank you for the recipe!

    …Also, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate that you ‘talk’ to us in the comments. That means more than you know. :o)


  68. I really like this recipe, well, because I like anything that’s prepared as a “pesto” or just merely has the word “pesto” it! in it. My mother’s loves peas and she loves pasta – it’s going to be great serving her something I may be able to cook better than her – HA!

  69. Umm pea pesto! Sounds delicious!! But then I love peas as long as they are either fresh or frozen. No canned peas allowed in this house, in fact our children have never even tasted a canned pea. :)

    Do you think this will freeze well? We got the equivalent of 2 one gallon bags last week in our share and equally as much this week plus various greens. I might have to try this with our kale as my family have decided they do not care for kale unless it it is thinly sliced, sauteed with garlic/onion, and then served over fresh made ravioli. Not in a house where construction was going on.. ha ha!

    Enjoy your trip this summer!!

  70. Just harvested some cinnamon basil–my first time growing it. I used it in a pecan pesto (substitute an unflavored oil for the olive oil). It was pretty darn good for an experiment. This makes me remember how versatile pesto is. Thanks,

  71. Anna

    Deb- I made this last night already! I was CRAVING pasta, and you must have read my mind! I added seared chicken for husband and added some sauteed mushrooms for myself and e.n.j.o.y.e.d. Only complaint? I found it difficult to snap out the required peas because I kept sneaking a few raw ones here and there.

  72. Joan

    Love the sentence about wanting it to be a dress, but will settle for dinner! And as for rolling the peas about the floor, I remember when my kids were little they very much appreciated a line in one of their picture books (WISH I could remember the title) where peas were called “little green balls of mushy poison.” Never understood that myself – always loved them. Will definitely try this!
    Hope you have a wonderful vacation – that does involve some sleep!

  73. Great idea! My kids love pesto. I’ve been making it with spinach to add some vitamins to their little meals, but PEAS! Yum!!!!

    Question for you though, my middle child is allergic to tree nuts & peanuts. I’ve been making separate pesto for him without walnuts or pine nuts (in a separate “bullet” that I only use for his food), what do you think of a sunflower pesto? Yea or nay? Have you ever tried this? Do you think the taste would be yummy or weird?

  74. Lovely photos – I want to run out and make this right now. But alas, it is 8AM in California.

    I’ve been experimenting with alternatives to basil pesto for a while now and have had a lot of success. I posted an Asparagus Pesto to my blog – also a great way to appreciate early spring vegetables.

    Have a wonderful beach vacation. Here’s to good sleep!

  75. stephanie

    I too was wondering if I could freeze this pesto–looks divine and I want to make @ home and bring to our beach house.

  76. Joanne

    I read your post and drooled. No fresh peas here, just frozen. On a side note, is this a new interest in peas and pesto going on? I caught a bit of Entertainment Tonight and Giada was in a segment with pea pesto on brushetta. She’s having a dinner party for Will and Kate soon.

  77. Kat

    I made this last night. It really has a wonderful flavor…just the right amount of fresh sweetness. Only problem: I wasn’t really paying attention to the second part of the directions where you are supposed to have the heat on when incorporating the pesto into the pasta. Not really sure what I was thinking, but my method didn’t work that well.

  78. This looks fantastic. I recently made pea pesto with fresh cavatelli and added prociutto for a nice salty hit. Really good.

    I also tried renting a beachhouse with an 11 month old. I was less tired after running the NY Marathon.

  79. Edith

    I can’t wait until your cookbook comes out so I can stop printing out recipes and just have them bound! This recipe looks delish! Made black bottom cupcakes last night for a benefit and they were a hit and I won my boyfriend with blueberry boy bait :) Your blog is a staple in my cooking life. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipies.

  80. Sarah

    I JUST made this sort of spur-of-the-moment…I read your post this morning and then went to my local veggie stand for spinach and saw a few packages of fresh peas just STARING at me. The timing seemed destined. I had all the other ingredients at home except pine-nuts so I substituted walnuts. My nine-year old daughter was asked to be my official “taster” and she ended up eating huge gloppy spoonfuls so I thought, yes, it tastes good. I am planning n doing the pesto on crostini tonight. Hopefully my darling 5-year old dinner curmudgeon will like it too.

  81. Adam

    Great recipe. Any suggestions on quickest way to shell peas? The one thing that deters me is how long it always seems to take me to get them out of the shell.

  82. AlaskanCook

    Training for a marathon and can’t wait to use some fresh Alaskan peas to make this for my next carbo-loading dinner! As always, thanks for your wonderful recipes.

  83. Zac

    This creative concoction sounds amazing. Just one thing…It ain’t pesto! It’s funny that this is actually the second online post I have initiated a confrontation with, concerning faux-pesto. I am aware of the etymological roots of the word, “pesto,” but we could be here all day if we took the literal meanings of words. For example, orecchiette means something along the lines of “ears.” Anyway, I will end up nicking your idea and using it to impress my girlfriend, but I will not refer to it as pesto. There can be only one of pesto…Basil, garlic, Parm, Pec. Romano, S&P, oil, pine nuts, cooking water, and for the Northern Italians, some butter.

    1. deb

      Hi Zac — While pesto is traditionally made with basil, I thought I understood that the word pesto comes from the Italian word “pestare” which means “to pound” (as in, a mortar and pestle, how pesto is traditionally made) and that it’s about that act of grinding ingredients and not the ingredients themselves. I would love to get some opinions on this! I’ve always been curious about the right and wrong way to use the word.

      Adam — Maybe I get really easy peas (Jersey fresh!) but I find simple to de-pod — they open with your fingers and can be swiped right out. Half the time, mine are already loose in the pod so as soon as I open it, I can roll them right into a bowl. Are yours different? Because when I tried to shuck lima beans last year, on the other hand, it took hours and I was convinced that I was missing something that would make it easy. I thought I’d lost my mind.

  84. Holly

    I just made this for dinner, and it was really delicious … thanks, Deb! My husband asked for me to please keep this recipe handy so that we can have it again.

  85. Angela

    In reference to Zac’s comment – pesto is a generic term for a sauce that is made by pounding with a mortar & pestle. There are a lot of pesto variations with some being more traditional and some not so much. The original basil based pesto is called pesto alla genovese or pesto genovese in order to help differentiate it from other variations. Even in Italy there are pesto variations. Pesto alla siciliana (also called pesto rosso) is a sauce from Sicily which is similar to pesto genovese but adds tomato, almonds instead of pine nuts, and much less basil. Pesto alla calabrese (from Calabria) is made with grilled red bell peppers, ricotta, pecorino, parmagiano, hot red pepper flakes & black pepper.

  86. Elizabeth

    Umm, have you been spying on me lately? I ask because for the last couple of months I’ve been making homemade ricotta and pea pesto every weekend. Seriously. It’s an obsession. Then we have build- your- own crostini with dill and cucumbers and green onion and its so early-summer delicious. My pea pesto has the same amounts of everything but add the juice of a lemon and omit the nuts. I love it on tomato sandwiches or topped with prosciutto (the saltiness of the ham & sweetness of the peas is a nice combo).

  87. sounds like a great alternative when you don’t have fresh basil lying around, but you do have a bag of frozen peas in your freezer. Love the concept of humble ingredients transforming into something so simply gourmet. Feeling inspired.


  88. tj

    …Hello Deb, I just stopped by here to tell you that I made this tonite and it was dee-lic-ious! I didn’t have any pine nuts on hand so I used almonds instead and I couldn’t stop eating it – it was that good! Thank you for the recipe, this is a keeper!

    …Oh, and my husband is on a men only camping trip with a group of friends so I just call it a ‘mancation’ for lack of better words… :o)

    …Have a wonderful weekend and blessings too…

  89. ooo this is just so pretty! i remember falling in love with peas pilfering my aunt’s garden in a montana spring as a child…i got into trouble, but they were so wonderful! i’ve loved them ever since. this is an excellent use of them.

  90. Jiffy

    I’ve never “cooked” with peas from the pod. I just can’t seem to make the little buggers go anywhere but my belly… :)

  91. G-Rae

    I fixed this for lunch today and it was awesome! The only thing I changed was that I didn’t have enough parmesan cheese, so I used what I had and chunked some raw cheddar cheese in the blender with the peas. It was great! I also had some left over baked chicken that I added to the pasta. Yum! Thanks so much for the recipe.

  92. Kevin

    yes, the name of the dish comes from the method of preparation – but I think it’s pretty much stuck as a noun, not a verb. Isn’t the French version “pistou?”

    In the world of Mexican cooking, guacamole is also authentically made in a bowl, not a blender — I once saw a great guacamole recipe that uses equal amounts of peas, broccoli and avocado – low fat and delicious.

  93. Sue

    Deb, I’m allergic to pine nuts and nuts in general, is there any possible way that this will be decent without them?! I miss pesto a ton (allergy cropped up 4 years ago . . . gah!)!!

  94. I bought the most lovely little peas at the farmer’s market this morning. They were originally supposed to be for an orange chicken stir fry next week, but I don’t see how I could possibly resist peas and pasta.

  95. Stephanie

    Hmm, I thought I posted the other day! This looks absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to get a huge bag of shelling peas.

    BTW, if you get sugar snap peas, just dress them in lemon juice, olive oil, coarse salt and pepper and eat them up!

    Someone asked what to do with the shells–I freeze the empty shells and then use them in my next batch of vegetable stock. It adds a beautiful sweetness to it.

  96. bruna

    hi deb ! i loved this recipe, i am definetely going to do it! i love your blog, and i`d like to suggest you a brazilian recipe: brigadeiro! it is so delicious and everybody here in brazil loves it! here is the recipe: melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan and add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and 4 tablespoons of grated semisweet chocolat. Stir until it is really creamy. The best way to eat it is directly from the pan, but if you want something more special you can wait it cool and then make little balls. you NEED TO TRY IT, i am not kidding. xoxo

  97. I LOVE peas! I’m game for any recipe that includes them and it’s a shame as I don’t think I’ve ever had a fresh pea! I’ve never made pea pesto but this looks so good I think I’ll even give it a try with frozen peas. I actually recently asked my farmers market if they carried peas and they kind of laughed, saying they have no demand here (Orlando). Too bad.

  98. I made this the other night for dinner and it was FANTASTIC! I added some turkey sausage to add a little more protein to the dish and I was out of pine nuts so I opted for hazelnuts. Still delicious! It was so easy to throw together and every bite was full of fresh flavor! Another one of your dishes that will certainly make frequent appearances at my dinner table!

  99. sharon

    Every Wed. my girlfriend & I get together to try recipes. I would love to make this…how many servings does this recipe make?

    1. deb

      Serving size — Depends on how many you would normally serve with 3/4 pound of pasta. For us, it would be 3 dinner moderate servings. In Italy, it might be 6. But I know people who only serve 2 to 3 from a one-pound box!

      bruna — Beat you to it!

  100. kate

    made this last night and it was a-mazing. something magical happened to the peas after their hot bath and combination with the other flavors. i took my first bite and was blown away at the rich sweetness. and linguine was the perfect shape pasta for cling factor. thanks for the recipe, deb. keep those simple, seasonal, vegetarian goodies coming!

  101. Another Kate

    For those with nut allergies, I followed the recipe as written, just omitting the nuts altogether, and it was still insanely delicious. I used whole wheat linguini, which has a nutty quality, so maybe that helped compensate?

  102. Elaine

    Would this work as a do-ahead pasta salad, maybe made with short pasta like penne or rigatoni? I’m always looking for recipes to bring to picnics, potlucks, etc.

  103. Tori J

    ugh, deb. I LOVE smittenkitchen but this, for me, was a flop. The reason: I rediscovered why I hate peas. Even hidden with all of the other goodness, the pea flavor and worse, the smell, came bursting through.
    However, if I was not repulsed by peas, this pesto I would love. I did make it, tried it, and am now bringing to a (pea-loving) friend’s home for their consumption.

  104. Jeanne

    We made this tonight with peas from our garden and I just had to tell you how much we loved it! We didn’t have a full 1.5 cups of peas so we omitted the whole peas but it was still amazing. Thank you for a great recipe!

  105. Vidya

    So this far exceeded my expectations. I adore pesto but acquiring enough basil for it usually costs an arm and a leg and my own basil plants tend to die all the time. I tried this with frozen peas, and I didn’t have pine nuts so I used toasted sunflower seeds instead and upped the amount to about 3 and a half tablespoons. I also threw in an extra clove of garlic. After tasting it, it definitely would have been better with pine nuts and I definitely think that less oil could be used, I kept drizzling more in between pulses but to be honest each time, it tasted the same. But it’s still delicious. I tossed it with some rigatoni and can’t stop eating it.

  106. Lynne

    i make a side dish (with salmon) similar to this recipe…a pureed mint with garlic, mint and parmesan. i dont even cook the peas…just let them defrost and then use them in the food processor. then you can use cold or heat up…might be good in the summer cold for your pesto! looking forward to trying.

  107. This is SUCH a great idea, much healthier way to get a serving of vegetables in without as much fat as traditional pesto recipes. You all might be familiar with Hodgson Mill’s whole wheat pastas already, but we just tried them and they’re AWESOME, very flavorful and good ‘al dente’ texture. Would make it a downright healthy meal.

  108. David Hoffman

    Deb, thanks for the recipe. I cleaned out the only vendor at my Farmer’s Market who had fresh peas last weekend and got about 2.5 cups of fresh peas from the lot. The pesto turned out very well (great fresh pea flavor), and I tossed the pasta with a cup of blanched peas and about six ounces of sauteed shiitake mushrooms before serving.

    I think the pesto needed a little more seasoning, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what was missing. I used salt, fresh ground pepper, a touch of crushed red pepper (not enough because I couldn’t even taste it), a splash of fresh lemon juice and a little bit of flat leaf parsley. Next time I might try pistachios or walnuts in place of the pine nuts; maybe a little mint would help too.

  109. Deb, this recipe is definitely a keeper – thanks for sharing! The final 1-minute cooking of the pasta + pesto makes all the difference and transcends a rather coarse, garlicky paste into a smooth and flavorful whole. I love peas and made this with very fresh, sweet and tender ones – it’s so nice to have this added to my repertoire. Brillant idea!

  110. Victoria

    Deb, I notice you are specifying table salt in some of your recipes. I hope I don’t sound like a total dummy, but does that mean we shouldn’t use kosher salt? Or, just adjust our amount to account for the difference? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Victoria — Yes, this is new! Basically, I started specifying because the same volume of Kosher salt will yield a less salty recipe and if I am using coarse or Kosher salt and don’t mention it and someone uses table salt instead, they’ll find the dish way too salty. Furthermore, even among brands of Kosher salt, saltiness varies wildly. So I decided to be specific as much as possible and unless there’s something I feel the texture of the salt particles will add, I default to table salt, which is what I can presume 99% of people have around in addition to fancier salts. No reason you cannot use another, but understand that you’ll want more of a coarser salt to equal in saltiness the same volume of table salt.

  111. David Hoffman

    I don’t mean to unpleasant, Zac, but if you’re going to play language cop in this forum — which is generally a pretty friendly place, save for the odd cry of ‘shenanigans’ — please take a minute to confirm that you’re actually correct. It took me about ten seconds to find the following on Wikipedia:

    Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto alla genovese), and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil and nuts blended with olive oil and cheese. The name is the contracted past participle of the Genoese word pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and wooden pestle. Nowadays, however, the ingredients in pesto are not “pounded” but “ground” with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. This same Latin root through Old French also gave rise to the English word pestle.

    As Angela pointed out above, there are loads of variations: pesto has become a generic term used to describe a variety of other pestos, some traditional, some modern. For this reason, the original (and most common) pesto is now called pesto alla Genovese or pesto Genovese (both forms are used in both English and Italian), in order to help differentiate the original basil based pesto from alternatives. Even in pesto alla Genovese, almonds are sometimes used instead of pine nuts, and sometimes mint leaves are mixed in with the basil leaves.

    Pesto alla Siciliana, sometimes called pesto rosso (red pesto), is a sauce from Sicily similar to pesto Genovese but with the addition of tomato, almonds instead of pine nuts, and much less basil.

    Pesto alla Calabrese is a sauce from Calabria consisting of (grilled) bell peppers, black pepper and more; these ingredients give it a distinctively spicy taste.

    Variations on that information can be on a wide range of food-related websites in addition to Wikipedia (lest you be tempted to pooh-pooh Wikipedia as a source of authoritative information.

  112. Dairy-free people, do not despair! I make traditional pesto for the lactose intolerant folks by dropping the cheese and salt and using red or barley miso (white is too sweet). I wouldn’t sub 1 for 1. 1/4 cup miso should do the trick here. Also, even though pine nuts are traditional, but expensive, I have used almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts with success. Lovely pictures, Deb!

  113. Sandra

    I just bought the most delicious peas I ever had up in Maine this weekend. I used some to make this pesto and it was delicious. Thanks for the idea Deb!

  114. NancyNS

    This was delicious. I used almonds instead of pine nuts because that is what I had. I had leftovers for lunch today, and I will have the rest of it tomorrow for lunch. My friends were jealous and intrigued today. This is going into my rotating repertory. THANKS!

  115. Michelle

    I made this last night (subsituted pine nuts with cashews) and it was amazing! what’s not to love? peas, pasta, and garlic! 3 of my very favourite things! thank you!!

  116. thought i’d report back now that i’ve actually made this. delicious! i made a huge batch (i had a ton of peas) and added some fresh lemon juice to your recipe, and on day 3 I used it as the base for a potato pizza, which i wrote about yesterday on my blog. it was pretty freakin awesome. thanks again for a great recipe!

  117. Marcia

    I was taken for a lovely birthday dinner at Telepan last night. One dish was a sublime pea fettucine with fresh ricotta and mint..a sort of amalgamation of your last two posts…Here’s to the nights and the food of the solstice .

  118. I’ve been loving experimenting with all different kinds of pesto lately. Basil pesto can still steal my heart, but other ingredients can create equally as tasty results. I just made pea soup, and oh how I love the sweetness of pureed peas, so I bet this pea pesto is awesome!

  119. Pesto seems to be one of the foods of the seasons, and this is a great way to add even more veggies to it. Definitely will be my next pesto experiment!

    And @Vidya – I also love Basil and put into nearly every dish, but it’s so hard and expensive to find, especially the Genovese kind. Recently I discovered one of these fool-proof indoor gardens where my basil is growing like a weed! So the pea pesto becomes a voluntary alternative :-).

  120. Rachel

    I tried this but changed / added a few things:

    1. No pine nuts in the house but plenty of unsalted dry toasted almonds slices. Worked great.

    2. Garnished with homemade ricotta quenelles (made according to your recipe….). The slight (barely there) lemony tang of the ricotta really sung with the sweet brightness of the fresh English peas.


  121. Okay, if you throw this in your cookbook, I’ll buy three copies: one for my mother, one for me, and one for my daughter.

    I made this last night and we love it. I had it for lunch today–still love it (I used the frozen pea option–still fab). Thanks for delivering such a great recipe to all of us on such a hot day. My sister said she wanted to try it and add chopped avocado, but I liked it just like it is.

    Now I’ve got to find something just as good for tonight. . .

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  122. Chintoo

    Thanks for the recipe, its my dinner tonight! Substituted almonds as suggested, but I added some Dijon Mustard since my Indian Palatte demanded a spicy addition…….;-)

  123. Jenna

    Delicious! I tried it with and without ricotta – good both ways. And I’ll bet that this is one of those pastas that’s amazing with a soft egg over it. I’ll have to give it a try tomorrow night.

  124. Lori in Vancouver

    The recipe was great but I agree with David Hoffman’s comment about it needing a little something extra. I added more garlic, parmesan and black pepper and the end result was, delicioso ! Fresh looking and tasting dish and a wonderful change to regular sauces.

  125. Aidan

    I’ve made this but with whole grain linguine and an extra clove of garlic in this pesto. I also mixed in some finely chopped, steamed broccoli. It came out amazing! Thanks for the inspiration!

  126. becky

    So… I started toasting what was left of my pine nut stash in my little toaster oven and all was fine… then I turned around for a SECOND and they were all black! Sooo sad (and soo much swearing). But it turns out that walnuts are a fine substitute because it came out beautifully!

  127. How delicious and yet so simple. I’ve only ever tried pesto with garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and basil so I will need to give this a try. Thanks for the inspiration ;-)

  128. Oh, yum! I am lover of peas, so after seeing this post I immediately went out to the farmer’s market. Unfortunately, a farmer’s market right dab in the middle of Boston has higher prices than out in the country – $5 for 1/2 of fresh peas-in-the-pod!! Yikes. So me and the froze peas made sweet, nutty and delicious pesto together! I made this last night as directed and loved every bite! My company was fascinated and surprised by how good it tasted. This has certainly become a household staple! The Boyfriend suggested crispy pancetta on the top for next time. I couldn’t agree more!
    Thanks Deb!

  129. For those allergic to tree nuts, I’ve also used pumpkin seeds in pesto as they have a similar texture.

    The pizza place by my house had a pea pesto pizza on the menu recently and I’ve been thinking of trying to replicate it.

  130. Hi deb! made this pesto yesterday for dinner! it was really good!! I used toasted pecan nuts, as pine nuts here are sooooo expensive, they are prohibitive! Thanks for the idea! also great as a spread… I could eat it by spoonfools it was so good!
    (There´s a pesto I make all the time, and serv it with bruschettas with grilled peppers/vegetables or with pasta, of course: fresh arugula, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan… Much milder than basil pesto, and it´s incredible!)

  131. Marty

    My husband is a pea farmer…..really! He grows a thousand acres of green peas annually. This recipe is simple and delicious! Thanks for promoting peas!

  132. Kris

    I made this earlier this week and it was wonderful! I used frozen peas (Debbie Downer noise) but it was still great. Maybe because of that, I found that I only needed about a cup of pasta water for it to get to a nice consistency. Definitely going to try it again with fresh peas, and I think it’d be great with some torn up bits of prosciutto, too!

  133. Lindsay Johnson

    I made this last night and it caused a bit of a disaster in our kitchen, but that has far more to do with my tiny 1 cup food processor than the recipe! We must, must, must invest in a larger and more powerful food processor soon as having to pulse in shifts results in pea pesto in various stages all over the kitchen. My husband is a fairly picky eater (but has become drastically less so since we got married!) and he said that he liked it and took some for lunch today as leftovers. We both agreed that it would be great with a bit of pancetta or chicken on top. Thanks for the recipe!

  134. Nicole

    1. I do a similar thing with fava beans (my absolute downfall- LOVE), and it is amazing, but a ton of work.
    2. I made this with TJ’s pre-shelled fresh peas and it was ready in like 30 minutes and delicious and the toddler can. not. get. enough.

  135. Nicole

    Also, I used walnuts after contracting pine mouth recently (google it- who knew?!?!) and swearing off pine nuts FOREVER. It was still great.

  136. Julie

    Made this tonight exactly as the directions specified, and it was delicious! I was really surprised how much flavor there was with just a few simple ingredients. I did sprinkle red pepper flakes on the top when serving.

  137. jem

    truly delicious. i love how creamy it was. i only used half a cup of cooking water and a bit less oil but it worked out great.

    thanks for another delicious recipe!

  138. Gillian

    This was great! Went to the market to get fresh peas and used fresh homemade pasta (tagliatella, not linguine), which I think made it even better.

    Also, for those who don’t have a food processor, I used a blender with no issues – just add the olive oil with all the ingredients so that the mixture has enough juice to actually blend. Did another quick whir before adding it to the pan.

    So. good.

  139. pattyk

    When I was a kid we used to eat creamed peas on toast (white sauce + peas + toast = childhood awesome). Have not had it in forever. This is a fantastic grown up version. I put a few basil leaves into the pesto rather than using them as a garnish.

  140. For those using frozen peas, I did not defrost them, still cooked them 2 minutes and it worked out perfectly. Also, I made this for my lunch today and it came together very quickly (under 20 minutes…really saying something if you can make it before you walk out the door in the morning!) BONUS: I had everything in my pantry, and yet it tasted very fresh and spring-like! Thanks, Deb – this recipe is definitely a keeper!

  141. We tried the recipe last Sunday, it was delicious. Since we had not really planned to make it, we had to use what we found in our pantry: frozen peas instead of the fresh ones and almonds and cashew nuts instead of the pine nuts. I love cashews! And I loved the color of the pesto. Today, I had some of the leftovers on roasted bread. Still very delicious. Many thanks.

  142. I made this last week with some fresh-from-the-market peas (I had to use a few frozen to make the 1.5 cups, because I didn’t have the recipe memorized when I headed to Daley Plaza) and it was delicious! Like a commenter above, I substituted cashews for pine nuts because it was what I had (and my husband and I are paranoid that we’ll get pine mouth), and it worked great. The pesto is so bright and delicious, and it tastes so fresh and summery. I had to stop myself from, like, licking the food processor bowl. We’re having it again this week!

  143. Tamara Morgan

    No one has said it yet: “Visualize whirled peas”! My favorite bumper sticker!

    At my farmer’s market up here in VT, only one grower was growing shell peas because “I can’t make a profit on them”. How is that possible????? It’s not like we want them shelled–where’s the fun in that?

  144. Tamara Morgan

    Virginia: Absolutely not! This is such a delicious website just to look at, you can’t be blamed. But the recipes are amazing if you would want to venture into the cooking, and this one is dead simple.

  145. I love the idea of experimenting with non-basil pesto, and peas are perfect for this time of year. Their fresh and mild taste is also perfect for a light, summery pasta. I’ve also heard of using green olives, red peppers, arugula, and zucchini, if you’re ever looking for other ways to experiment.

  146. Thank you for this recipe! It was seriously amazing, made it last night. This is now my go-to recipe for dinner, its a great solution for my garden full of peas.

  147. KatieKate

    I vote we call it “pesto alla Pisello,” which is Italian for “pea.” or we could just call it really flipping delicious. But if we put the name in Italian that makes it awesome-er. Besides, if any culture should be known for throwing together whatever they’ve got into something yummy it’s the Italians. We do that wonderfully. And today I had peas. Really I had no intention to make this until I saw the peas at the farm.

    In case anyone was curious, I apparently bought sugar snap peas. I didn’t realize there was much of a difference since the guy at the market said they were similar. I ended up removing the peas from their edible pods, leaving me with one packed half cup of peas. Then I blended in another half cup on packed pods. It worked perfectly, so I’m sure you could just do this with whole sugar snap peas as long as you chop them a bit. I blanched parts of the pea pods then and tossed them in with the pasta. Really really yummy!!!!!!!! Now I just need more peas so I can do this again.

  148. Deb, this is genius! I don’t know why I never thought of doing pesto with something other than a leaf. :) We just bought peas at the market and I’m so excited to try this recipe!
    I’m living in Ukraine this summer and, while I actually think most of the food is better here than back home in California (I know – crazy), I’m without a lot of my usual kitchen conveniences… such as a food processor. I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes with a knife and cutting board. Any suggestions? Thanks! :)

    1. deb

      Allyson — Just chop-chop-chop! Or, see if you can get a hold of a mortar and pestle. Pesto = to pound, and before we had all of our fancy tools, it was made by chopping/pounding.

  149. Mollie

    This was absolutely amazing! I was skeptical… I mean what person’s inner 5 year old isn’t skeptical of PEAS?? It was even good cold, leaving me to believe it may make a good pasta salad if tossed with some rotini, and maybe halved cherry tomatoes!

  150. Sini

    I made it and liked it. I used almonds instead ’cause that was what I had at home and chopped some basil into the dish. What really made the difference were cherry tomatoes. My mum suddently (in the middle of the dinner) asked me why we don’t toss in some of those delicious little red tomatoes from my balcony. What a great idea, mum!

    And by the way: peas are absolutely stunning raw straight from the pod. That’s how we in Scandinavia use to eat them. Some of the best moments of summer… You just have to keep watch for pea worms ;)

  151. Tracy

    AMAZING. After raving about this to everyone I know for about two weeks I decided I should comment. I made it, but with a few unplanned changes. My husband far underestimated the number of peas we would need and also bought snap peas. After taking the pods off we only had about a 1/2 cup of peas. So we decided to substitute 1 cup of pods for the cup of peas in the pesto. Followed everything else according to direction, reserving the 1/2 cup of uncooked peas & added the pasta to them while it was still hot to warm them up. It was soooooo good.

  152. c

    Deb, you’ve done it again. Absolutely wonderful. I’m bookmarking this recipe to use with frozen peas in the dead of winter for a little pick-me-up.

  153. Rosette

    I totally just spread some of the pesto on a toasted 5-grain baguette while the pasta boiled.
    Gahhh, so good! It’s so light but so satisfying!

  154. Colleen

    I just made this and it was delicious!! Thank you for the recipe. I had a big bag of fresh peas and I still had to add frozen peas to reach the required 1 1/2 cups. No matter, it was just as good I’m sure. Even my husband liked it and he usually doesn’t like pasta without tomato.

    1. deb

      Cristina — My intention was still for people to cook them, even if frozen. That said, I’ve seen raw pea pestos. I don’t think they get as smooth but if you wish to skip a step, it might be worth trying.

      1. Helen in CA

        But Deb…..frozen peas are NOT raw. They’ve been flash steamed before freezing which I imagine is the equivalent of your 2min cook in this recipe (If they’re rinsed to defrost them).

  155. My mother made something similar to this last year. It was so good, and a nice change from standard basil pesto! It’s also good spread in a wrap or pita sandwich!

  156. Gamine

    What a pleasant surprise. Miam, that was sooo good, not sure I’ll be able to keep those leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

  157. Stephanie

    Your recipes showed up twice in my kitchen today (yeah!), and this was our dinner. This was a simple, easy, and flavorful dinner that I pulled together in no time. I (admittedly) used frozen peas and did not think the flavor was compromised whatsoever as a result. I also used chopped/toasted almonds in lieu of pine nuts in the pesto; after making your other almond-based pesto once before, i knew that wasn’t an insane substitution (look up “pine mouth”; i’m still wary of pine nuts after having a case of this). Delicious and I loved it. Thanks so much!

  158. You’re my new website crush. I just made this for the fella and I and first off, its the prettiest color ever. We made some sweet basil turkey sausage along with it and it was perfect. The pesto was delicious and I can’t wait to snack on the left overs tomorrow! Love love love your stuff.

  159. Caroline

    I cannot stop making this – thank you so much for such a delicious dinner that performs every time and ticks all the boxes!

  160. Abby

    Hi Deb. i tried this last night for a relaxed dinner at home with some friends, and it got rave reviews! I added some bacon to top the dish off, and the addition of that smoked saltiness worked really well with the flavors of the sweet nutty pesto.

    Thanks for this one!

  161. This pesto is so simple and so seriously delish. I’ve made it three times now, using frozen peas and toasted almonds, and it’s as good tossed with some capellini and chunks of poached chicken as it is smeared on slices of toasted baguette. I’m not going to lie–I’m a little addicted :)

  162. Beth

    Made this last night for my girlfriend and served it with a caprese salad. I used frozen peas, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and topped with basil. Awesome all around – summery and delicious. We’ll definitely be making this one again!

  163. Cathie

    Just made this with peas from my garden. I live high in the mountains and summer comes late and leaves early. The pea pesto is heavenly and if I would have started with it on bruschetta it never would have made it to the pasta.

    Love your site–thanks for the great recipes, photos and humor!

  164. Anna

    I just made this and it was SCRUMPTIOUS! I made a half recipe (just me today) and made sure to use a very tiny garlic clove; the garlic level is just right, so here’s my plug for heeding Deb’s specification of a small clove!

    Now…. will this be yummy enough for the husband who disilkes the taste of ALL peas? TBD….

  165. Beth

    I’m not typically a fan of peas or pesto, but recipe is a must-try. I used frozen peas, and the bright color was just what I needed as summer fades into fall. I served it as a side with pork chops (stuffed with mushrooms and smoked mozzarella), and it was perfect. I added quite a bit of pasta water, which seemed to smooth the sauce while adhering it nicely to the pasta.

  166. @Jill I always seem to have leftover pesto when I make this recipe and it keeps well in the fridge–though it’s so yummy it rarely seems to last beyond a couple of days :) We love this smeared on toasted baguette slices the next day, so I’m sure you’d be fine to make it ahead as long as you covered it well.

    I love this recipe, it’s become a weeknight/pantry cooking staple in this house since it was published back in the summer. I always seem to have some peas in the freezer, and it’s so much better than squeezing some pesto out of a tube–yuck. I’ve served this on linguine as the recipe outlines, but on all shapes of pasta. Try it with fusilli, tossed with chunks of roasted chicken, some tomatoes, mint and feta and it’s fantastic.

    Great recipe, Deb. One of your best.

  167. Anonymous

    Made this yesterday without really measuring anything. Used too much parmesan, also used frozen petit pois instead of regular garden peas, I think I oversalted it too. Despite these failings I quite enjoyed it and it was very easy, so it’s been added to my weekday roster and I’ll work on improving my technique; I really love peas. By the time peas are in season again hopefully I’ll be able to make it without squandering fresh peas on a failure.

    Really like the photo of the pan of peas btw, it would make an excellent poster.

  168. Beth Em

    I made this for dinner last night as an accompaniment to gnocchi and used the leftover pesto as a spread on some crusty bread with cream cheese – really tasty:-)

  169. Mej

    Thank you! Every other pesto recipe has left out the two most important things I learned from this one: well-toasting the pine nuts and using the pasta water to loosen the sauce. Best pesto I’ve ever made!

  170. Humanus Genus

    I’m not sure if I did something wrong but this was really bland and gluey for me. I used frozen peas and gluten free pasta and only needed a splash of the reserved pasta water. I also used a pestle and mortar instead of a food processor to make the pesto. The toasted pine nuts had a stronger taste than the peas so maybe the peas were the problem – I ended up adding a whole lot of salt to compensate. The only thing that made it passable was the basil garnish and Parmesan which says something right there. I’ll probably revert back to my fav basil pesto from now on.

  171. Megan

    made it and it was good, although I bought more than the amount of peas on pods in weight than called for and didn’t not get 1.5 cups (some of the peas were super tiny). and I used a full pound of pasta because i figured the last quarter of the bag would never get used otherwise. I also used cheddar cheese because that’s what i had. I added the full amount of cooking water instead of adding as needed, and then turned the heat to medium to try to evaporate some off and it was fine.

  172. Megan

    also I didn’t toast the pine nuts–last time i toasted nuts I think they just ended up tasting burned, and it was a nice short cut to skip this toasting step.

  173. This sounds so good…thinking of making it for dinner this week. I’ll pair it with an Alsatian Riesling. The chalkiness of the peas could clash with a traditional sweet Riesling. The off dry Alsatian versions would go well.

  174. i just made this & was so excited because I LOOOOVE new pestos. Arugula pesto has been my long time best friend. Cilantro pesto is a good friend too. This past winter kale pesto saved my life (or at leas my dinners!). But pea pesto! Never thought of that! Delicious & thank you! Also, I added some Indian mint chutney to mine which was pretty nice.

  175. Uuuh, I never thought about making pesto from pears. I love pestos but not just the normal ones like basil and rucola. I can imagine the nice combo of sweetness and salt in this one. Love it, thank you!

  176. notesontea

    Making this tonight w/o the pine nuts so not sure it’s technically a “pesto” but sure the garlic, olive oil, and parm cheese will make it delicious.

  177. Kim

    Hey there, Deb! I was wondering if the pea pesto would go good with whole wheat linguine because I have someone who cannot have ‘regular’ linguine? Thank you! :)

  178. Kristen

    Tried making this with 1/4 cup of miso instead of the salt and parmesan (like Pamela suggested in comment 212) and the entire dish was overpowered by the miso unfortunately. :(

    Too bad, the recipe seems like it would be great otherwise.

  179. beca

    I made this last night – really, one of the most lovely meals in ages. I added some lemon zest and a couple of mint leaves to the pesto itself and reduced the salt. Definitely putting this on my kitchen rotation. Thank you! :)

  180. Beth

    Oh no. I made this tonight and it bombed. That’s a first for a SK recipe. I thought it was yummy but the 2 yo, 4 yo and the husband all thought differently. Too much pea taste, not enough pesto (read: basil and cheese.) I don’t have the stamina to read all 300+ comments but I glanced a few that ran into similar taste and texture issues. I’m determined to make my family love it but sadly not without a tweak or 10.

  181. Allison

    To be honest, I was skeptical about this dish. Pea pesto? But I had some peas from the farmer’s market and you’ve never led me astray. So I tried it. And it is delicious! The peas have such a rich flavor.

  182. Julia

    I made this (lazily) with frozen baby peas and almonds and added in some chicken for my boyfriend–this will definitely be added to the dinner rotation! It makes for wonderful leftovers, too.

  183. Elizabeth

    I made this last night, and since I’m trying to avoid flour-y foods, I threw it on top of some fresh greens, added goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, and oil + vinegar / salt + pepper.. and then ate it at the bus stop before ever making it to work. This pesto (with some whole peas) + goat cheese + pepitas on top will be a tasty dip w/ pita chips at my next cookout .. Thanks!

  184. JessB

    Deb, I just wanted to let you know that I made this again last night (for the thousandth time), but this time I was cooking with my little sister! It was great fun, and really simple – we served the pesto with big bowls of beef ravioli, and a sprinkle of parmesan on top and it was so delicious. We watched an Aussie cooking show while we ate, and smirked that our dinner was better than theirs.

  185. Celia

    Deb, I’ve made this delish recipe countless times before, but tonight I made it for my 14 month old daughter. I have NEVER seen her wolf her food so quickly! It was met with much approval! Thank you for getting her to eat her peas ;)

  186. BAM

    Got the replacement blade for my old Cuisinart today. Now I know the first thing I am going to test, after I score some peas.

  187. Shannon

    I just started the pea-sto portion of this recipe, and thank goodness I doubled it to use up some peas. I’m going to spread it on toast and top with a fried egg immediately!

  188. Christine

    Great simple recipe. I’ve made this about 4 or 5 times now. The pesto is quite thick as Deb noted, so be sure to reserve that pasta liquid and pour in a little at a time as you mix it with the pasta. I probably needed somewhere between a half and full cup. Once the noodles and pasta are mixed it keeps in the fridge for several days, so I’ve been bringing in portions for lunch. Great use of farmers market peas in season right now. Thanks Deb!

  189. Megan

    I have made this at least 5 times and am obsessed! I either add no olive oil or just a tiny splash as I find it doesn’t need it, and I add basil to the food processor.

    Also it’s still good with frozen peas. Summery fresh tasting meal when there’s nothing seasonal in the winter.

    1. deb

      If your food processor minces garlic, go for it. It’s a bit small for mine. I do, however, use and employ a garlic press all the time — no chopping.

        1. deb

          I use a garlic press. I just replaced mine of, like, 18 years with this one (which is heavy and fancy and I’m not sure I’m used to it yet). I sometimes microplane or grate garlic too, if I’m already using the grater for another part of a recipe, so not to take out another tool.

  190. Andria Entsminger

    Super yummy with the fresh peas from my garden. I did make a change and added some basil to the pesto, because, well basil. It was a nice addition to help keep the color bright and I just added a bit so the peas still came through as the first flavor!

  191. Alison KN

    Just delicious! I used frozen peas, walnuts instead of pine nuts, and a few tiny leaves from my basil plant just because. Yum!

  192. Louella

    We loved this. I used toasted almonds instead of pine nuts because that’s what I had. I also toasted extra for sprinkling on top and really enjoyed that crunch and extra hit of nut.

    We went with a mix of fresh mint and fresh basil to finish and they were delicious (even though I’m a bit of a mint skeptic in non-desserts–glad you took me there).

    Thanks for all you do to make my life tastier!

  193. Bethany

    Could you freeze the pesto (obviously not the cooked pasta)? Our kitchen is about to be remodeled, and I’m looking for easy recipes to make in advance and throw in the chest freezer before demo begins.

  194. Hannah

    12 years later, this recipe is still a banger. It’s perfect as is, but I’ve also found it welcome to additions, such as sautéed mushrooms, [vegetarian] sausage, cannellini beans, and/or a dollop of ricotta. Thank you, Deb!