I find the smell of fresh herbs intoxicating, and I’ve been known to stick my face in my basil plant and just- breathe it in. There’s nothing quite like fresh basil, and my favorite way to perfume my kitchen with it is to turn it into a pesto.
I like to use cashews in place of the traditional pine nuts pesto calls for. I love cashews, first of all, and my wallet prefers them over pine nuts, which happen to be about 24 dollars a pound. I’m all about spending money on quality food, but in the case of pesto, cashews make a perfectly delicious (less pricey) substitution Especially when it comes to these scallops with cashew pesto.
I usually make a double batch whenever I make pesto, because I will undoubtedly be craving leftovers the rest of the week. Besides its obvious talent of coating slippery noodles, pesto is perfect for spreads and dips, throwing on top of chicken, or using in salad dressings. I’m sure you’ll find a good use for whatever is leftover from your batch. I think pesto pairs perfectly with scallops, and I could eat it straight out of the pan with all those sweet peas and sun dried tomatoes. I resisted (this time) and tossed it around with some zucchini noodles. My husband got the real deal pasta, because he’s Mediterranean, and you don’t want to come in between a Mediterranean man and his pasta (even though he has thoroughly enjoyed my noodle shaped vegetables before).
If you’ve never had zucchini noodles (zoodles) before, you’ve got to try them. They are so easy to make and can be used anywhere you would normally use pasta- they even twirl! I was hesitant to buy a kitchen gadgetdedicated to turning vegetables into noodles until a friend of mine loaned me hers. Now I’m hooked!
I always soak my cashews for at least a few hours before I’m ready to get cookin’. Before adding them to your food processor, just rinse and drain them. This makes them super soft for blending and actually easier to digest as well.
- 1/4 cup cashews, soaked
- 1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 1/2 cups basil, packed
- juice of half a lemon, plus zest
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 lb bay scallops
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 4-5 sundried tomatoes, diced
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Add all pesto ingredients into a food processor, pulse until smooth
- Add peas and tomatoes to a pan heated with a little of the olive oil. Stir to warm, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Add remaining oil, turn up heat, and add scallops. Sprinkle lightly with salt and squeeze of lemon juice. Saute until scallops turn opaque, careful not to overcook (about 2 minutes).
- Remove pan from heat. Return peas and tomatoes to pan, add pesto and toss together. Enjoy over pasta, zoodles, or straight out of the pan.
- After cooking the scallops, there will be a little bit of liquid. You can drain this, or use to loosen the pesto a bit (what I do).
- Recipe makes enough pesto for two servings, with leftover pesto for another day.
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.