Pea and Cashew Pesto with Mint & Feta Cheese
After tasting the magnificent Pesto Princess Pesto’s, I’ve been absolutely obsessed, or should I say re-obsessed with pesto. I’ve always loved pesto but their pestos are unlike any I’ve ever tasted. The flavours of garlic, fresh herbs and cheese are so strong and fresh that I can’t imagine using any other pesto ever again. Except if I make it myself.
Last week, in Pretoria, the weather was miserable. Cold and rainy which is so unlike our Autumns. Usually the skies are clear and there’s just a crisp breeze to remind you that Winter is coming. I felt like I needed a serious kick of Summery goodness and my absolute favourite Summer combination must be that of Peas, Mint and Feta cheese. I started playing around with what I could make, I knew Risotto would be great, maybe a nice fresh pasta a dish…but they all seemed a bit ‘done’ to me.
That’s when the idea for Pea pesto popped into my head. Now I’m not claiming to have invented this, I Googled it and there are gazillions of recipes for Pea Pesto online. But I think mine is just a little bit special. I couldn’t find pine-nuts so I decided to use cashews which are a favourite of mine and I knew I would add tons of feta cheese to this to counter act the sweetness of the peas and the cashews. The result was absolutely delicious and something I will have in my fridge constantly from now on.
If you would like a ‘looser’ pesto, feel free to add more olive oil. And I also suggest you play around with the flavours and taste the pesto constantly while you’re making it so that you can customise it to really work for you. I think next time I’ll add just a touch of finely chopped chillies to see if that works (but I know that chillies just make everything better). I decided to put the pesto in the starring role of my lunch that day and served it on buttery bruschetta with an extra drizzle of olive oil but this would work in pasta, risotto and I’m pretty sure it would make a mean salad dressing. I will be trying all these throughout Winter to put a smile on my face when the icy cold gets too much for me…there’s just nothing that says Summer like beautiful sweet peas!
Makes approximately 3 cups
2 cups frozen peas, blanched and drained
3/4 cup (about 100g) raw cashew nuts
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2-3tbsn fresh mint
1-1.5 cups olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper to taste
- Place the peas, cashew nuts, feta cheese, garlic and fresh mint in a food processor and process until the mixture has formed a paste but is not completely smooth.
- With the processor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the funnel. I only use one cup of olive oil as I like my pesto to be less runny, if you want a looser pesto, use 1.5 cups of olive oil.
- Taste the pesto and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- To store, place in a air-tight jar and drizzle olive oil over the top before placing the lid on.