St. Patrick’s Day – what a great excuse to get the boys to eat something green!
Brian’s family is as Irish as you can get. His parents came here in their youth, got off the boat, settled in Queens and had four children, living the American dream. But they never lost their brogue. When Brian and his siblings reminisce about their mother’s cooking they all agree on one thing – too many potatoes! When we first met I made mashed potatoes thinking he would love them, being Irish and all. On the contrary, having had potatoes with every meal since the age of 2, it was the last thing he wanted to eat. He took about two bites just to be polite…
When contemplating a dish for St. Patrick’s Day, two things obviously came to mind, Guinness and potatoes. Clearly, I was going to stay away from potatoes, and beer didn’t seem to be a wise choice, considering my audience. So I focused on the green…
PEA PESTO PASTA
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup, plus 1 tsp olive oil
3 slices Canadian bacon, diced (you can also just add some deli ham)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, divided
1 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
1 Lb dried linguine
Salt & Pepper
Boil peas in a small saucepan with lightly salted water for about 2-3 minutes until they are bright green. Drain well and set aside.
Heat a small skillet and add the pine nuts until lightly toasted and set aside. (Toasting the pine nuts is optional).
In the same small skillet add 1 tsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon and let cook until caramelized. Remove and set aside.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the cooked peas. In a food processor, mix the remaining peas, garlic, pine nuts, 1/2 of the grated cheese, pinch of salt, until it becomes a smooth paste. Then add the olive oil until well blended.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Over moderate heat toss the pasta with the pea pesto, reserved cooking water, reserved peas, Canadian bacon, and the mascarpone cheese. Cook for about 1 minute, and season with salt & pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining grated cheese.
And the VERDICT is:
Matthew (Age 5): “THIS is NOT GREEN!”
Liam: (Age 3 11/12): “It is LIGHT green and too hard to eat”
Dylan (Age 3 11/12): “No, it is YELLOW, only the sauce is green!”
What??? They were seriously angry that I had promised green pasta and felt I didn’t deliver. After I profusely apologized Matthew ate it grudgingly; Liam and Dylan took two bites each. But if my kids are yelling at me that their food is not green enough I could care less how much they ate!