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Halloween Treats: Slimy Pea Pesto Whole Wheat Penne
There is something about a bag of frozen peas that open up endless Halloween related, utterly delicious dinner options. My favourite last minute Pea & Mozzarella Soup is actually adapted from the ‘Slime Soup’ in Nigella Lawson’s fantastic book Feast (my favourite of hers, closely followed by Simply Nigella), and today I have another quick and easy pasta dish (it should only take 15-20 minutes start to finish, and you’ll probably already have most of the ingredients if you keep a basil pot by the kitchen window) that is perfect to bring a bit of spooky seasonality to your weeknights: Slimy (in look, not in taste!) Pea Pesto Whole Wheat Penne.
Perhaps it was down to my childhood obsession with Harry Potter that defined my generation, but Halloween is my favourite holiday, and there are a few treats and memories from my childhood that just really defines the season for me, in spite of the fact I’ve only had the opportunity to dress up about four times in my life (I remember these: a witch (twice), a zombie victim of some horrific crime covered in bandages and blood, and as a black widow in a Spanish gown who had murdered her husband), and growing up in the middle of nowhere I have never actually been trick or treating. There is always a pumpkin to carve (for some reason I can only ever carve a cute one, rather than something more ghoulish), and the year I only got hope at 11pm on Halloween off a flight from Athens, my Dad presented me with a plate of mini chocolate pumpkins instead. And my favourite Halloween treat is an Axeman Snack (or five!) These are non-negotiable.
This recipe will make enough pasta for two of you to have a decent bowlful for a light(ish) meal (add a fancy dessert or a side salad if you want more of a meal), but the pea pesto keeps okay in the fridge for a day or two, so you can always make up another bowl to eat later.
Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling, salted water until it is al-dente.
Meanwhile, make the pesto. In a small food processor or mini chopper (I swear by this one), blend the petit pois, olive oil, basil, lemon zest, parmesan, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. I like a smoother sauce, but you can also go for a chunky pesto. Add lemon juice to taste.
Drain the pasta well, and stir in the pea pesto. Serve straight away, divided between two warm bowls.
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