You've just come home from a long, hard day. Exhausted. Bedraggled. Famished. Popping a pizza in the oven is one rather unhealthy way to go but this pasta dish, with its minimal effort and huge flavor payback, is most decidedly another. In the amount of time it takes to boil water, you can have a perfect bowl of nutty, chewy pasta topped with a bright green, vibrant sauce.
This has been a standard recipe on my kitchen, ever since I discovered it in The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen by Eric Gower. It can be on the table in 15 minutes, especially if you have already cooked and shelled edamame on hand.
Pasta with Edamame Pesto
adapted from The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen; serves two
1 cup edamame, cooked and shelled, a few whole beans reserved
1/4 cup roasted almonds, a few nuts reserved
1 cup fresh mint, a few small sprigs reserved
1 small cove of fresh garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound farro or other whole wheat pasta
Start a large pot of salted water to boil. Combine the edamame, almonds, mint, garlic, olive oil and seasonings in a bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until a rough paste is formed. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente, drain, return to the pot and stir in the pesto. Taste for seasonings and serve with the reserved edamame, almonds and mint sprinkled over the top.
Notes: You can use other herbs, such as basil (pictured) or a combination such as mint and cilantro. The original recipe calls for smoked almonds but it's quite delicious with plain, although it is really nice if they are roasted. If you are watching your soy intake, then fava beans are a good substitute. You can sometimes find them in the frozen veg department of your grocer.
You can use plain pasta or udon noodles, but I really like the rough chewy texture of farro pasta. Whole wheat pasta is also good.
(Image: Dana Velden)