This pesto made from frozen peas is delicious on pasta any time of year. Fresh, garlicky, and super green, it comes together in minutes with ingredients you likely already have. One bag of frozen peas will yield about eight servings of pesto, so portion and freeze any leftovers in an airtight container—use about ¾ cup of pesto per pound of pasta (each pound serves about 4). This recipe works well with other frozen vegetables too, such as corn, broccoli, and kale—but you may want to dial back the garlic just a bit—3 to 4 cloves instead of 4 to 5. For an even better bowl of pasta, top each serving with a small handful of crisped pancetta.
- Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the frozen peas and return to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then drain and rinse the peas with cold water. If you wish to reserve the water for cooking the pasta later, use a spider or strainer to remove the peas before rinsing them with cold water.
- If using raw nuts, heat the oven to 350°F and spread the nuts on a small sheet pan. Place in the oven and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until fragrant and golden brown.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the peas, nuts, cheese, garlic, and salt. Pulse until the mixture begins to homogenize, then stream in the olive oil and process until well combined and fairly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Crisp the pancetta, if using, by placing it in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy—10 to 15 minutes.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid before draining. Toss hot pasta with butter and ¾ cup to 1 cup of the pesto, adding reserved pasta water as necessary to create a silky sauce. Portion into bowls and top with extra cheese and a tablespoon or so of crisped pancetta.
- Store remaining pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Zola Gregory is a writer and recipe developer based in Seattle. Having previously worked as a pastry chef and baker, she now enjoys helping others find success in their own kitchens through her stories, recipes, and baking classes.