Did I add those ingredients just so I could have a fun title? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t part of the equation — but mostly it’s about the snuck-in secret veggies, because there’s something weirdly satisfying about being able to tick off your five a day very swiftly by whipping up spinach and pea pesto.
What can I say? I lead a thoroughly rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
Honestly, this week we’re all craving green things, whether it’s because we’ve acquired a lot of chocolate or just down to the brighter skies that come with switching the clocks back, (although that always seems to mean losing an hour’s sleep).
But it’s time for fresh starts, again, and rediscovery — the “tomorrow” we were awaiting the arrival of before it’d be sensible to look to getting in shape is here. And so we shake off the darkness of winter, peeling it away like soggy shoes after a rainy commute, and we dig into recipe books, reminding ourselves what vegetables look like, and we chuck in some extras.
This little dish will make you feel virtuous enough as it is, but switching the pasta out for a wholewheat version will give you extra fibre, and a side of asparagus while it’s in season would be a welcome accompaniment.
The recipe uses frozen peas, and frozen spinach, which are both freezer essentials in our flat over the winter months, but come the summer, fresh veg can be subbed in.
Perhaps you’d prefer to go without the meat. The salt from the bacon in the original recipe and the smokiness of chorizo in this both add another dimension to the flavours, but it’d work without, too. I confess that I switched out bacon in favour of chorizo because it’s one of the main things that would stop me from going vegetarian. There’s just nothing like it.
As for the rest of the ingredients, they’re things you might have laying around, if you’re into cooking: a nubbin of parmesan; a small handful of flaked almonds left over from a long-forgotten baking endeavour; half a bunch of basil, maybe from a plant, if you’re one of those superhumans who can keep potted herbs alive. If not — if you’re buying in — they’re things that’ll keep if you store them properly, and can be used across a load of different dishes. Little waste, that’s what we like to see. .
Serves two, fairly generously
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
200g frozen peas