Last Night’s Dinner

June 14th, 2013 · 18 Comments · Anatomy of a Weeknight Dinner, Pasta, Quick, Vegetarian

The Order of Events

5:30 About to leave for Phoebe’s last lacrosse game of the season; realize I have not thought about dinner for one second. Do quick scan of fridge, see big bouquet of wilting CSA mint sitting in cup of water, screaming “Now or never!” It’s summer and summer + mint immediately sends me in the direction of peas. Yes! A bag of Trader Joe’s peas in the freezer. Leave on counter to thaw. Head out the door.

6:30-7:30 Game a total nail-biter. Would’ve loved to end season on a win — instead added a notch in the “L” column. Whole team fought so hard. 8 to 7. So close!

7:45 Walk in the door. Water goes on stovetop for boiling. Andy adds thawed peas and mint and everything else into blender. I assemble a turkey-and-cheese sandwich for the resident pasta hater. My sweaty, battered Left Attack takes a shower.

8:05 Milk poured. Pasta twirled. Picture snapped. Dinner served.

Spaghetti with Mint-Pea Pesto
This is a feel-your-way kind of recipe. We agreed after the fact that we should’ve used a food processor instead of a blender — because it helps to have the pulse option to control the consistency. Also: If you don’t want to serve this with pasta, just skip the thinning out part and spread on a baguette, Todd-style.

1 1/2 cups frozen peas (I used 3/4 of the bag you see above)
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, washed
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parm, plus more for serving
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti

Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Whirl remaining ingredients (except spaghetti) in a food processor. Taste and adjust as you go. (Don’t overprocess or it will be too emulsified.) Consistency should be somewhere in between smooth and chunky guacamole.

Add pasta to the pot and about half way through cooking it, scoop out about a cup of hot water. Set aside. Drain pasta once cooked. Scrape pea mixture into the empty hot pot, then start drizzling reserved pasta water into the dip, whisking until it has the consistency of a creamy sauce. Toss pasta in sauce and serve with freshly grated Parm and some torn mint leaves if you’re feeling fancy.

Note: This was written on Thursday so “last night” in the title refers to Wednesday. In case anyone out there is fact-checking.

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18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kat Chavez // Jun 14, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I love meals like this! Things that come together fast and please everyone. Sadly my hubs would be looking for the meat :( I always keep shredded roast chicken in the fridge just for him.

  • 2 Carol // Jun 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Yum! While I don’t think my people would like this, I would and might make it just for one in the near future.
    The only peas my kids will eat are the TJ’s petite peas – they are a staple in our house. :)

  • 3 Ana // Jun 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Oh my, it looks so fresh and delicious. I love pesto-everything!

  • 4 ellen // Jun 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    ooh you just gave me a great idea for getting more green veg into my veg-adverse daughter! she loves pesto – she’d never go for the mint but i’m going to try just blending peas into regular pesto. fantastic!

  • 5 Robyn // Jun 14, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Perfect and light for summer

  • 6 Katherine // Jun 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    This reminds me of my all-time favorite Jacques Pepin recipe, which is a pea and basil puree. Simple, quick, amazingly delicious!

  • 7 AC // Jun 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Do you cook the peas or use them frozen?

  • 8 Lucy Mitchell // Jun 16, 2013 at 3:41 am

    Frozen peas. What would we do without them? Glad they were’nt needed for any post game injuries. They do double duty in our house, jumping from freezer to first aid kit and back again. Perfect quickie recipe, thanks.

  • 9 PARIS BEE kids blog // Jun 16, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Great quick recipe. Frozen peas are the perfect last minute recipe fixer!

    xoxo PARIS BEE kids blog

  • 10 Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy // Jun 17, 2013 at 12:26 am

    I love your photography. The food is attractive, but it’s not over-styled with extra props. PS- I like to add pinenuts to a dish like this to add a little more protein.

  • 11 Kelly // Jun 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Made this. Loved this. Our three and five year old dinner guests also loved it. Unfortunately the three and five year old that belong to us did not. I guess it is time to work on our marketing :)

  • 12 Sasha // Jun 24, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    You’re a super mom :)

  • 13 statgirl // Jun 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I made this the other night and absolutely loved it! Unfortunately my husband wasn’t crazy about it, because he doesn’t like mint in savory dishes. Maybe next time I’ll try it with basil instead. I garnished it with chopped salted pistachios, which put it over-the-top good, as far as I was concerned. Yum.

  • 14 Calliope // Jul 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Awesome! I love your, err Tods, minty pea dip & often make it for parties. (My hubby loves it smeared on a turkey sandwich.) A few months ago I adapted the recipe into a pesto by using half the mint, replacing the other half with basil & adding some almonds. We had it with some fresh artichoke hearts & whole wheat pasta. It was seriously great & I’ve made it again since. :)

  • 15 Laura // Aug 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Yum, I made pesto this week that was amazing and my kids loved it.

    I will try this one next.

    I read your newsletter, do I win the Franny’s cookbook?”

  • 16 Nicole // Aug 8, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    “I read your newsletter, do I win the Franny’s cookbook?” thank you for the wonderful blog as usual!

  • 17 Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom // Aug 9, 2013 at 12:44 am

    I love this recipe. . totally going to give this one a try. . my kids love peas! :)
    “I read your newsletter, do I win the Franny’s cookbook?”

  • 18 Erin // Oct 2, 2013 at 1:22 am

    This is my second time making this. I don’t usually add the water in because I like it extra thick and am only making it for two. I added a couple of halved cherry tomatoes for color this time. Before this I didn’t quite believe in “non-meat” recipes but this is quickly becoming one of my very favorite quick recipes.

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