Spaghetti with Creamy Spring Pea Pesto and Roasted Baby Meatballs

Aired March 19, 2012

Serves 4
1 pound ground pork or veal
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
1 cup panko or fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup whole milk
1/ 2 to 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 to 1/3 cup EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups shelled spring peas or frozen organic peas, defrosted
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup basil
1/2 cup mint, a couple of small handfuls
1/2 cup crme fraiche
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place meat in a mixing bowl. On a cutting board, combine zest with parsley and 2 cloves of garlic and finely chop together to make a gremolata. Add gremolata and breadcrumbs to the meat along with egg, milk, salt, pepper, 1/4 to 1/3 cup grated cheese and about 2 tablespoons EVOO. Combine meatballs and roll into walnut-sized balls. Arrange on a nonstick baking sheet and roast 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Place a large pot of water on stove to boil for spaghetti.

Simmer peas in stock, covered; 5 minutes if raw, 2 minutes if frozen. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup peas to a food processor. Once peas are cooled to room temperature, add remaining clove of garlic, basil, mint, salt, pepper, 1/4 to 1/3 cup EVOO, and cheese. Process into a pesto sauce.

Return peas and stock to heat, bring to a low simmer and stir in crme fraiche. Keep warm over low heat and let thicken.

Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water to al dente. Remove 1/2 cup of starchy cooking water then drain pasta.

Stir pesto into creamy peas and combine with pasta and meatballs.

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