According to a noted naturopath, almonds have the perfect blend of essential fatty acids and vitamin E for the human body, making it a natural immune-booster and powerful ally for better health. Certainly almonds are high in vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, and studies suggest that they offer cardiovascular benefits by reducing bad cholesterol and helping to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease–making them a great addition to our health-conscious diet.
In this luscious recipe, almonds add toothsome texture and nutty flavor–as well as their healing magic–to a lemony pesto made with fresh or frozen peas and fresh parsley, transforming pasta into an early-summer delight that is as good for you as it is delicious and easy to make. And did you know that “pesto” means “pounded,” from the days when it was made in a mortar and pestle? But we can use a food processor or blender instead!
1 pound whole wheat penne or other pasta shape
1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup blanched almonds
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot of rapidly-boiling salted water, cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. About a minute before the pasta is done, add half the peas. Drain pasta and peas, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and return the pasta-pea mixture to the pasta pot.
2. Using a food processor, grind the almonds finely. Add the lemon juice and zest, the remainder of the peas, parsley, and salt to taste. Process until combined, then–with the motor still running–add the oil gradually and process until the mixture is smooth.
3. Add pesto to pasta, tossing to combine, and adding reserved pasta water as needed to make the sauce the consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper to taste, transfer mixture to a serving bowl, and serve immediately.