Rachel Ray's Think Spring pea pesto pasta

So after two successive really early morning risings, we slept in a bit longer one morning, so that we arrived at the university fitness center in Rachel Ray's ten o'clock hour, and bob caught her Think Spring pea pesto pasta with watercress for garnishing which looked pretty interesting, so we did it that very evening and found that it packs a lot of flavor. Not enough basil on hand (miscommunication with the chef) so we substituted 3 tablespoons of pesto, used some organic tagliatelle from Mom's Market. Lost the watercress. Isghouhi (mother-in-law) gave it the thumbs up. Delicious.

Peas are a strange veggie for bob. In Italy they are often served sauteed with pancetta, simple yet delicious, but here in the states they seem kind of boring. Bob's brother hated peas as a kid. When he was something like 7, our mom served frozen peas (in the 1950s, there were no fresh veggies in our lives that we did not grow in our garden) and he would not eat them. He sat with them one night for a long while after the rest of us had finished dinner, mom insisted, but then never served him peas again. This dish really cranks up the taste with the basil and mint (and lemon!), both frequently used fresh spices in our kitchen. Will have to explore the implications this has for risotto version! So far we have never done a pea risotto, perhaps because of bob's unjustified reluctance—they just need supercharging like in this recipe.


2 T extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 T butter 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound fresh peas, 2 packages fresh shelled (or 1 pound frozen organic peas)
1 c loosely packed basil and mint (see pesto comment above)
1 small lemon, juiced
1 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some to pass at table
12–16 ounces egg tagliatelle, fettuccine or spaghetti (best with tagliatelle or fettucine!)
1 c watercress or upland cress (optional, says bob)


  1. This is pretty quick. Get the pasta water boiling and salt it when ready to dump the pasta.
  2. In a big pot that will later accomodate the cooked pasta, combine the EVOO, butter, stock and garlic, and bring to a boil.
  3. Once the liquids come to a boil, add the peas and simmer about 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer half those peas to a food processor and pulse into a thick puree.
  5. Add herbs, lemon juice and cheese, and pulse again 6–8 beats, to combine.
  6. Meanwhile cook the pasta to 1 minute less than al dente, and reserve about ¾ cup pasta water before draining.
  7. Drain the pasta and add it back to the ot pot with the sauce, reserved peas and hot pasta water.
  8. Toss to combine, and add more cheese and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  9. Transfer to a large bowl and top pasta with cress if you got some. Otherwise it is needless decoration. This dish rocks!


  1. Rachel Ray's Think Spring pea pesto pasta from May 2019. We lost the watercress, but it is a nice touch if you want to go there.
  2. Illustrations available.
peapestopasta.htm: 7-sep-2019 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]