As­para­gus, peas and radishes with pis­ta­chio pesto

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - FOOD -

WHAT YOU’LL NEED For the pesto: 150g shelled un­salted pis­ta­chio nuts 8 spring onions, trimmed and chopped 15g un­salted but­ter 1 fat gar­lic clove, crushed 170ml ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 130g ri­cotta, fresh rather than UHT 40g pecorino or parme­san cheese, grated Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pep­per For the veg­eta­bles: 8-10 radishes, prefer­ably French break­fast 650g as­para­gus 3tbsp ex­tra vir­gin olive oil ¾tbsp white bal­samic vine­gar 200G fresh raw peas 25g pea shoots METHOD 1. Start with the pesto. Boil two-thirds of the pis­ta­chios in wa­ter for four min­utes; this soft­ens them and makes the pesto creamy. Drain and dry them in a tea towel. You need to rub off all the pa­pery skin. Lightly toast the rest of the nuts in a dry pan for about 30 sec­onds and then im­me­di­ately trans­fer them to a plate. 2. Cook the spring onions in the but­ter in a small saucepan un­til soft, but not coloured. Add the gar­lic and cook for an­other 30 sec­onds. Blitz all the nuts with the spring onions and gar­lic in a food pro­ces­sor, grad­u­ally adding the ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil. Stir in the ri­cotta and pecorino or parme­san. Sea­son and taste. 3. Shave the radishes us­ing a man­do­line, or cut them very finely with a sharp knife. Break or cut off the base of each as­para­gus spear. Bring a pan with about 7.5cm of wa­ter to the boil. Stand the as­para­gus in this, bases in the wa­ter, spears lean­ing against the side (they cook in the steam). Cover with a lid. Cook un­til only just ten­der, test­ing with a point of a knife. Lift the as­para­gus out of the pan, then quickly dry it of ex­cess mois­ture by pat­ting it with a clean tea towel. 4. Add a lit­tle of the as­para­gus cook­ing wa­ter to the pesto to loosen and thin it. Mix the ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and the white bal­samic vine­gar to­gether and sea­son. Di­vide the as­para­gus, raw peas, radishes and pea shoots be­tween six plates — or put them all on a plat­ter — and driz­zle with the white bal­samic dress­ing. Spoon on some of the pesto and of­fer the rest at the ta­ble. SERVES 6

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