Columnist Arlene from Carrickfergus Cookery School at Carrickfergus YMCA offers a taste of Italy, featuring classic linguini and pesto.
Linguini pasta with asparagus, peas and garlic pesto
For the pasta, you will need:
250g dried linguini pasta
125g freshly shelled baby peas or frozen petit pois
125g fine asparagus spears, cut into thirds
3 tbsp double cream
40g finely grated parmesan
For the garlic pesto:
150ml olive oil
1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
200g spinach leaves
20g fresh chives, snipped
100g pine nuts
100g finely grated parmesan or vegetarian alternative
1 tsp caster sugar
1. To make the pesto, heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the spring onions and half the crushed garlic, then cook gently for 2
minutes or until softened. Transfer to a food processor and leave to cool. Then add the spinach leaves to the food processor with the remaining crushed garlic, the snipped chives, pine nuts and the rest of the olive oil, then blend to a paste. Spoon into a bowl, then stir in the
parmesan, sugar and some salt to taste.
2. Bring 2 pans of salted water to the boil. Put the pasta into one pan and cook as instructed on the pack until al dente.
3. Meanwhile, drop the peas and asparagus into the other pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Drain both pans, reserving a mugful of the pasta water. Return the pasta to a hot pan with 6 tbsp of the pesto, 4 tbsp of the reserved cooking water and the double cream.
Toss together until all the pasta is coated in the creamy pesto.
Add the peas, asparagus, 25g of the grated parmesan and a little more seasoning to taste, then toss together once more. Serve straightaway, sprinkled withthe remaining parmesan.
Cooks tip: store leftover pesto in a jar in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top before sealing. Alternatively put it in ice cube trays and freeze, then transfer to resealable plastic bags. One cube is about 1 tbsp.