make it: mint basil pesto & kumquat spaghetti… with peas!


another pesto, you say?

well, yes. they’re super summery (just ask the june cover of BA mag), and i love pasta with pesto and fresh english peas. all the stars aligned for this dish, which i made earlier this month.

how did all the stars align for this? well, i got to practice with the kitchenaid pasta making attachment at work, and it was so fun i ran out to get my own. soon after, i had roasted kumquats over burrata at roman’s in fort greene that blew me away, and realized i wanted to eat kumquats with everything. and now i had all this fresh pasta in the freezer, just waiting for me to do something with it, so here it is: a little recipe for fresh spaghetti with mint basil pesto, roasted kumquats, and peas!

first work on the kumquats and peas. (figure on about 1/4 cup of each per serving). preheat the oven to 375F, and while that’s happening, shell some peas. then slice the kumquats in half, remove any big seeds, and put on a foil-lined baking tray. douse them with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and red chili flake. roast for about 12-15 minutes. set aside.

mint-basil pesto:

1 cup each mint leaves and basil leaves

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

3/4 cup grated parmesan

2 scallions

zest of 1 lemon + juice from half

1/4 cup + 2T olive oil

1t sea salt + 1/2t pepper

pulse till saucy in a vitamix or food processor and set aside. the yield is enough for several servings of pasta, but you can also add some into a viniagrette, or mix some in with ricotta cheese and slather it on a bageutte… endless uses, really. also, i know garlic is included in virtually every pesto recipe, and without it, it’s not really pesto. but. i think it’s too strong for this dish. plus it makes my tummy hurt. if you want to add a clove, go for it.

while the spaghetti is cooking, put the peas in the steamer basket over the boiling water for a couple minutes and then straight into an ice bath. (a little cheat so you don’t have to wash two pots!) drain the cooked pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. toss with several spoonfuls of the pesto and as many peas and kumquats as you want per serving. you can add some pasta water if it needs loosening up. i do this part all off the heat, as cooking the pesto turns the lovely green color kind of brown and not as appetizing looking. add a little extra grated parmesan cheese, some fresh chopped mint, and eat. it is light, zingy, and delicious.

i used the fresh egg pasta recipe from the cookbook The Glorious Pasta of Italy, by Domenica Marchetti. it was divine, but obviously boxed or store-bought fresh would be as well.


(photos by laura kinsey for

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