I have been trying to lose weight for a while and been eating nothing but grilled salmon, salad with fat free miso dressing, zaru soba and home made non fat yogurt. Tonight, two hours after dinner, when I opened the refrigerator for some snack, there was a huge chunk of feta. There, looking at me and begging me to eat it. I grabbed a bunch of celery sticks and went back to my business, but the feta had haunted me. After five minutes, I started to fantasize about this piece of feta and a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil doing some dirty business. Deciding to make this fantasy more interesting, I decided to add some mint to it. Et voila: menage a trois. When my fantasy about feta, turned into a culinary orgy, I decided to give up, and ran to my kitchen. Here is the bastard child of my unforgivable sin. It actually turned out healthier than I expected, it requires just one pot, is ready in 15 minutes and it can be either served warm or chilled. A wonderful summer dish.
Pea and Pasta Salad with Feta and Arugula Pesto
1 cup peas (defrost them if they are frozen)
1 cup funny shaped pasta
1 cup fresh or frozen arugula (you can substitute this with spinach)
1.5 ounce feta cheese
1-2 tablespoon good olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil (fresh ones are even better, but this works ok)
1 teaspoon dried mint (ditto)
cayenne or any other hot pepper to taste
Bring some water to boil. Add pasta and cook until done. Beware of the Al dente syndrome, do not overcook and do not undercook! Drain your pasta, and put it aside. Put some olive oil in the pan and turn the heat to low. Add chopped arugula, mint and basil. Cook for a minute and let them release their aromas. Add peas and cook for a few minutes. Do not overcook the peas, they taste better when they are still vibrantly green. Crush the garlic and mix with the veggies. Add cayenne. Mix well, wait for the cayenne to release its spirit and turn off the stove.
Mix pasta, veggies and cheese in a bowl. Serve immediately, or chill until supper time.
Note: Pesto implies that there should be some nuts in the business. Since I did not have any, the recipe comes without them. However, adding pine nuts or walnuts would be nice.