Spaghetti with Creamy Spring Pea Pesto and Roasted Baby Meatballs
Gremolata-seasoned roasted meatballs add body to creamy "peasto" pasta. Prepared separately, the meatballs and "peasto" are great additions to a variety of recipes as well.
- 1 pound ground pork or veal
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls)
- 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup panko or fresh breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2-2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 cups shelled spring peas or frozen organic peas, defrosted
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup basil
- 1/2 cup mint (a couple of small handfuls)
- 1/2 cup crème fraiche
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Place the meat in a mixing bowl. On a cutting board, combine the lemon zest with the parsley and two cloves of garlic and finely chop together to make a gremolata. Add the gremolata and breadcrumbs to the meat along with egg, milk, salt, pepper, 1/4-1/3 cup grated cheese and about 2 tablespoons EVOO. Combine and roll into walnut-size balls. Arrange on a nonstick baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Wash your hands after handling the raw meat.
- Place a large pot of water on stove to boil for the spaghetti.
- Simmer the peas in stock, covered – 5 minutes if raw, 2 minutes if frozen. Remove from the heat. Add 1 cup peas to a food processor. Once the peas are cooled to room temperature, add the remaining clove of garlic and the basil, mint, salt, pepper, 1/4-1/3 cup EVOO and the remaining cheese. Process into a pesto sauce.
- Return the peas and stock to the heat, bring to a low simmer and stir in the crème fraiche. Keep warm over low heat and let thicken.
- Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water to al dente. Remove 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta.
- Stir the pesto into the creamy peas and combine with the pasta and meatballs.