There are some winter days when curling up in front of the fire with a warm, hearty stew is the best way of celebrating the season, of revelling in the now of the cold and seasonal ingredients. And there are some winter days, like today, when a bitter wind shakes a few flakes of snow from the iron-grey clouds and you want to be reminded of sun, warm days and gentle breezes.
We should, of course, be all about seasonal ingredients, but this fresh pesto only takes a couple of packets of herbs and some store-cupboard staples and you have summer in a bowl. Every winter deserves a couple of those, I think.
40g frozen peas
1 clove garlic
20g pine nuts
10g fresh parsley
10g fresh mint
10g vegetarian italian hard cheese, grated
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
Add the pasta boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions
Half-way through the pasta cooking time add the peas.
Put the rest of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. This is a small enough amount to bash together with a mortar and pestle if you feel in need of the exercise.
Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
When the pasta and peas are cooked, drain well.
Put them back in the pan, add the sauce and mix.
Serve immediately, with a wedge of lemon to add to taste.