Man, do I love my classic pesto. It's such a versatile sauce that instantly adds such rich, fresh flavor to any base of a dish. Chunkier pesto for a dip or to top chicken with, or silky and creamy to toss freshly cooked pasta in- you can't really go wrong here! It's also ridiculously quick and easy to make, so it is the perfect weeknight dinner flavor.
Ever since my discovery of ramps last year at the farmer's market, I now understand the craze that New York chefs go into during that slim seasonal window of time that they're available during the year. Ramps are an allium- foraged wild baby leeks that taste wonderfully garlicky and oniony. You can use them in similar ways to spring onions and scallions in your cooking.
I've been developing recipes with Banza to create healthy and fun dishes made with their awesome chickpea noodles. I created a Spring Pea Pesto recipe to use with their delicious Penne, and then as I was recipe-testing, I found that my boyfriend, aka Taste Tester #1, had never had pesto before.
What. How. Flabbergasted. Must. Fix. This.
So then I did a little spin on the original recipe for dinner for us, with a wonderfully delicious addition of, you guessed it, ramps.
Holy tastebuds. I like my pesto quite garlicky, so the addition of the ramps plus the juicy sweetness of the peas just skyrocketed this pesto to my "must-have" spring recipe list, and really, it should be one yours to try too before all the ramps disappear!
P.S. The team over at Banza has been nice enough to give my readers a discount to try out their pasta! 4-6 minutes to cook, and a serving of Banza has double the protein of regular pasta (14g opposed to 7g), and almost half of the carb content (24g opposed to 40g).
Just use the code: MINNALY25
Spring Ramp & Pea Pesto
2 cups uncooked Banza Penne Pasta
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 bunches of Basil leaves (about 6 cups loosely packed), washed and pat dry
½ dozen Ramps, chopped (leaf to bulb)
½ cup cooked Peas, fresh or frozen (then thawed)
½ cup Pine Nuts (Pignolias)
½ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
3 Garlic Cloves, minced or crushed
½ tsp Sea Salt
*everyone prefers their pesto consistency in a different way- this is what worked for me, but feel free to add more or lessen things like the olive oil.
- As per pasta packaging instructions, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add Banza penne in and reduce heat a bit until it reaches a low boil. Cook for 4-6 minutes, then drain and rinse shells immediately with lukewarm water. Drain completely and pour pasta back into large pot.
- Meanwhile, place the pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, and salt in the food processor and gently pulse a few times. Add in half the basil leaves, and blend until combined.
- Add in the remaining half of the basil leaves then the ramps followed by the peas, and blend continuously, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Keep blending until well-combined.
- With the processor running, gently pour in EVOO through the hole in the bowl's cover (if your processor doesn't have one, just open and pour in EVOO in small parts, blend, and repeat). Keep blending until pesto is uniform.
- Pour pesto sauce over the pasta in the pot, and stir to thoroughly coat penne. Plate, and serve!
*Tip: You can easily complete the pesto steps while the pasta is cooking, to shorten overall cooking time.