Monday, 10 September 2012

Cauliflower & Pea Pesto Pasta

Today has not been good. 

I started feeling ill last night and had to retire to bed. This morning, the Husband was also suffering, although the children appeared to be fine. I had a stomachy viral thing a couple of weeks ago, and I suspect it is the same thing, back again (it would be entirely inappropriate to suggest that my lovely boss's husband might have poisoned us with his burgers at a BBQ on Saturday night - when I eventually had to go off line this afternoon and retire to bed for an hour before picking the kids up, she was the one that threw up her virtual hands in horror and ventured the possibility -  although I hear their dog is also poorly...)

Anyway, virus, dodgy burgers - it doesn't matter. The Husband has spent most of the day in bed and we are both feeling washed out. Tea was not looking hopeful as I had forgotten to order any fishfingers in last week's online shop - we are all out, and I'm not so up myself in the food stakes that I can't see the benefits of having a pack in the freezer for 'C.B.A.' * days and emergencies. If the kids had had a school dinner, I would have bunged them some cheese on toast, but today was a packed lunch day, so awash with maternal guilt, I needed to give them something nourishing.

Salvation then in the form of a small cauliflower and inspiration from Jac over at the Tinned Tomatoes blog where she had been testing out some whizzy new gadget and made pesto out of raw cauli and peas. I have no such whizzy new gadget but I know a good idea when I see one - and I do have a hadnheld whizzer**.

Now, cauli is one of the things that Blue really doesn't like - so what possessed me to order one is beyond me, especially when we have a garden full of fresh veg - perhaps I was wanting something to add a little variety to the beans/courgette theme that we've got going on at the moment... Anyway, he doesn't like cauli and he doesn't like cheesey sauces. It is a source of great regret that I cannot serve great vats of cauliflower cheese up - or if I do, he just picks round the edges. I have been half-heartedly trying to tackle this by stealth - largely relying on Hugh F-W's Macaroni Peas - but it's not been one of my more succesful campaigns. Inspired by the Tinned Tomatoes post, then, and with nothing else planned, I thought "Here goes nothing" and began to create a pesto type pasta sauce using steamed cauli and the end of a bag of frozen peas. I didn't even have any garlic, but a good handful of pine nuts, some basil and rocket that I managed to find in the greenhouse, and some cheese, plus the able assistance of Pink, and we produced something that both kids ate and enjoyed. I think I would too if I didn't feel so pants.

Cauliflower & Pea Pesto Pasta

The sauce will serve about 4 but I've used pasta quantities for my 2 kids

150g pasta
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
100-200g frozen peas
handful of basil & rocket leaves
handful of pine nuts
good grating of cheddar cheese (you could use parmesan just as easily)
olive oil

Bring some water to the boil in a large pan which has a steamer (if possible). Add the pasta to the water, then put the steamer on top with the cauliflower florets in it and put the lid on. When the cauli is on the crunchy side of beign cooked, add the peas for a couple of minutes so they cook. Remove the steamer and allow the pasta to continue cooking.

Add the steamed veg to your blender (I use a plastic tub which my hand held whizzer fits into). Chuck in the basil, rocket and pine nuts, and the grated cheese, a slug of olive oil and a spoonful of pasta water and blend. You may need to add more oil or pasta water depending on your preference, and some salt and pepper, again according to taste. Eventually you will have a pale green pesto-type sauce. 

Once the pasta is cooked, stir through as much of the sauce as you want and serve.

 Oh yes. The bacon. I forgot about that didn't I? Well, I'd be lying if I hadn't seen it in the fridge and decided to cook some for them as a 'sweetner' - not that I didn't think they'd eat it or anything, but Blue is especially fond of a bit of bacon. Then again, aren't we all?? ***

*Can't Be Arsed - of course
** I belive the technical term is a 'stick blender'
***(Unless of course you're vegetarian/vegan or otherwise don't eat pork, so please accept my apologies, and pretend you haven't seen that last picture).


  1. Brilliant! I am so glad it was enjoyed, even if there was bacon involved :)

    Hope you feel better soon :)

  2. Recipe sounds great! I'm going to have to try it - I've never, ever been able to get any of mine to eat cauliflower. I'd sort of given up trying.
    So sorry you're feeling grim again, and husband too. Hope whatever it is, it's gone v v soon xx

    1. I probably wouldn't have felt s confident if I hadn't had the bacon, but it really was good - Blue actually enjoyed it :-). Ii can't belive I've got ill again - I am NEVER ill, espcially not tummy things.

  3. Oh love this. I am a stick blender queen, nothing is too much trouble with my trusty Argos purchase! It just never seems to flinch at anything. I've never thought of making pesto with anything other than the usual so this (and Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes) post was very appealing. I hope you're feeling better. Well done for cooking when you weren't even going to eat it, mine would have had jacket spuds and beans!

    1. Stick blenders rock! Jaket potatos would have been high on my list too, but (in a smug type of way) I've only got spuds from the garden available and although they are lovely and the Husband has dug them all, they don't really do well as 'baked' - would have felt compelled to do something more with them :-(

  4. I'll be trying this soon. I just made some seasoned peas!

    1. Seasoned peas sound good :-) - what do you put in those?

  5. Yum, a lovely evening dish. The recipe seems easy, cheap and cheerful, and your pictures look good x

  6. Wow, that is one unusual dish. Hope you're all feeling better now.



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