Fresh pea pesto made with cashews and mint mixed with brown arborio rice. A warm, simple meal for cool spring evenings.
1 1/2 cups arborio/short grain brown rice (or any other variety of brown rice)
2 cups fresh peas (from approximately 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) or a 10-ounce package frozen peas
2 small garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 packed tablespoons mint leaves (more to taste)
1/2 lemon, juiced (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup reserved rice or pasta cooking water (or plain water if necessary)
6 radishes, end removed and sliced into super thin rounds
Make the rice: bring a big pot of water to a boil, dump in rinsed brown rice and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water for the pesto as you drain the rice. Return the rice to the pot and cover. Let the rice steam in the pot for 10 minutes.
Make the pesto: Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes (they should be tender to the bite but retain a bit of structure). Drain peas and let them cool down for a few minutes.
Set aside 1/2 cup of your cooked peas. Whirl the remaining peas in a food processor with garlic, cashews, Parmesan, mint, lemon juice and salt until smooth, (about 2 to 3 minutes), scraping down the bowl as necessary. While the machine is running, drizzle in the olive oil. Taste, and add more mint, lemon juice and/or salt if desired.
The pesto will be very thick, so stir in up to 1/2 cup cooking water to thin it out if you are tossing the pesto with rice (or pasta). Mix the pesto into the cooked brown rice and season with salt to taste. Stir in the leftover peas and the sliced radishes. Sprinkle more grated Parmesan cheese over the dish if desired. Serve warm.