Pasta with pea pesto and simple salt and pepper chicken
Super simple, and doable even without a food processor, this pesto comes together with ingredients you're likely to have on-hand. Pair it with a quick chicken dish or tiny meatballs.
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I've made Smitten Kitchen recipes for birthdays, potlucks, picnics, parties, and every day dinners. And what I've learned is not every Smitten Kitchen recipe is created equally. While author Deb Perelman strives to make the cooking process simple, using as few dishes as possible and streamlined ingredients, every so often she jumps the tracks and veers into really complicated territory. Hand-made ravioli? Homemade bagels? Sorry, not happening.
Now, a simple pasta topped with a pea pesto when I already have a huge bag of frozen peas in my freezer? That I can do! The one downside? I don't own a food processor (highly recommended when making pesto) or even a blender. Much like the kitchen Smitten Kitchen I was inspired by (a tiny New York number) my kitchen has zero counter space and little storage.
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So what to do without a food processor? I used my favorite go-to kitchen tool, my good old hand mixer. Yes, took a little longer, and yes, my "pesto" was not as smooth as it would have been with a food processor, but it was definitely doable, and still delicious. And I'm betting there are others out there like me, cooking in tiny ill-stocked kitchens, sighing in frustration whenever an amazing recipe comes along that requires an expensive appliance they don't own. It may give your arm a workout, but this particular pesto is within reach.
I paired my pasta with an easy salt-and-pepper chicken, thrown together with ingredients I had on-hand. I have a feeling tiny meatballs would really make this dish pop, and if you want to keep it 100 percent Smitten Kitchen-themed, try the meatballs from this dish.
Pasta with pea pesto
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 small garlic clove, minced (or if using hand mixer 1 tablespoon garlic powder)
2 tablespoons unsalted nuts (original recipe calls for pine nuts, I used cashews)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water