Tarragon Pesto with Spring Peas, Asparagus, and Toasted Hazelnut
Tarragon is a very distinct flavor that is either loved or hated. This pesto here can really be prepared with any herb, including the beloved basil, but tarragon offers such a unique spin to a common sauce, while really augmenting the bright flavors of the spring peas and asparagus.
Brown Rice Spaghetti, 1 package
Asparagus, 1 bunch, tops only
Spring Peas, 1 cup
Tarragon leaves, garnish
Lemon zest, garnish
Toasted ground hazelnut, garnish
Spinach, 1 cup
Tarragon, small bunch
Garlic, 3 cloves
Hazelnuts, 1/2 cup
Algae Oil, 1/4 - 1/2 cup (or grapeseed, olive)
Vegan parmesan (optional)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Pesto can be very personal, in taste and consistency. I will always adjust a time or two before my final product is awarded a seal of approval. Adding all of the pesto ingredients to the Ninja, including the juice of one half of the lemon (I save the other half in case I want to add more later), everything gets an initial whirl to incorporate. I then gauge whether I need the extra splash of lemon, more tarragon, more oil, etc. I will also add some vegan parmesan to add an extra dimension of flavor, really good in this dish. One of the many alluring qualities of pesto is its vibrant color, so I typically make just enough for the dish (these measurements yield about one cup and I use all of it), but pesto can be frozen as well. I just love it as fresh as possible and would rather make more on another day than to store it.
After the spaghetti is prepared and drained (I retain a little extra tooth, since I'll be heating the spaghetti through again when I incorporate it with the pesto and the vegetables), it is drizzled with a bit of oil, in order to keep the strands separated. Set aside.
The pesto and the pasta are now ready to join forces in a large pot over very low heat. Toss well. While this is in process, I quickly steam the asparagus tips and the peas in a steam colander. This does not take long; a matter of minutes. We are aiming for the vegetables to sweat a little bit and for the colors to pop! Take the colander out of its steam bath and off the heat, adding the asparagus and peas to the pasta. Give everything a very gentle and ginger fold.
Once plated, the pasta may be garnished with some lemon zest for an extra color punch, some extra tarragon, toasted ground hazelnuts, or extra vegan parmesan. Don't worry about making too much, as this dish doesn't tend to result in much, if any, leftovers.