Oregano is growing in huge bunches in the garden, so I decided to see whether it would make a good pesto. I went for simplicity and combined oregano, almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and was pleased with the result–herby, slightly lemony, and delicious over warm pasta or drizzled over crostini topped with burrata or tofu.
The pasta also included much of the haul from McGrath and Hutchins farm stands: green onions, fresh peas in pods, and zucchini. The trick for fresh peas is not to overcook them. I put the peas in a colander and poured the pasta and pasta water over them, which softened them while retaining their grassy, fresh flavor and toothsome texture.
Oregano pesto with fresh peas and roasted zucchini pasta
2 medium zucchini and 2 small yellow squash (about 1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds)
1 tsp olive oil
1 pound pasta of your choice (I used Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta)
1 pound of fresh peas, about 1 cup after they’ve been removed from their shells
1 green onion, white and green parts thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh oregano leaves, firmly packed
¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds, lightly toasted
2 tsp lemon juice
¾ tsp salt
½ cup + 1 TBS olive oil
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare zucchini and squash by slicing each in half lengthwise and slicing each half lengthwise again into long spears. Brush olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and brush the zucchini and squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, turn the slices, and roast for another 10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.
2. While squash is roasting, put a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil and then make the pesto. Start by washing the oregano in a bowl of cold water and then rinsing and drying it in a salad spinner. Put the oregano in a food processor or blender along with the almonds, lemon juice, and salt, and blend. Add the oil and blend again. Taste and add salt or pepper if needed.
3. Once zucchini and squash is roasted, let it cool slightly and then put it on a cutting board and slice it into bite size pieces.
4. Put your colander in the sink and pour in the fresh peas. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and then pour the hot pasta to drain over the peas and warm them.
5. In a large serving bowl, put a spoonful of pesto at the bottom. Toss in the pasta, peas, and zucchini and squash, and toss with more pesto. Top with the green onion slices and serve with freshly ground pepper.
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