Green Goddess Pasta, we call it, after a dish I’ve twice gobbled up at the gorgeous P.S. Café in Singapore, a plant-filled, art deco-inspired restaurant nestled down a side street away from the hustle of busy Club Street in Chinatown. It’s one of my parents’ favourite hideaways for a bite in town, so both times I’ve visited them, we’ve escaped from the heat for a leisurely weekend lunch. On both occasions I was tempted by the Green Goddess Pasta, as it’s titled – simple, fresh, spring food (or as close as you can get in the eternal swelter of the tropics).
On the equator, they serve their rendering with spears of tender asparagus, crisp, crunchy florets of broccoli and succulent mangetout topped with altruistically-minded shavings of Parmesan. It’s one of those dishes with endless variations, thankfully, so today – when I woke up craving the vibrant, green flavours and irresistible crunch – I fashioned my own seasonal homage. Freshly home from the office, I flung in all the green veg lingering in my fridge’s crisper and whizzed up a quick spinach, basil and almond pesto in the food processor. A simple weeknight supper, full of feelgood greens and reminiscent – as the best meals are – of happy, indulgent noons, this one seven thousand miles away.
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- pinch crushed chillies
- 1 medium courgette, chopped into chunks
- bunch spring onions, sliced
- 1/2 garlic clove, diced
- 100g frozen broad beans
- 200g wholewheat pasta (I used pleasingly corkscrewed mafalda corta)
- handful chopped fresh basil
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 1/2 garlic clove, chopped
- handful almonds, to taste
- 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
- vegetarian hard cheese or Parmesan, shaved
- To make the pesto, blitz the ingredients in a food processor or blender, adding a little water and a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil to loosen. Season to taste and set aside.
- In a frying pan set over a medium heat, warm the oil and crushed chillies, then sauté the courgette, spring onions and diced garlic for 6-8 minutes, until al dente. Halfway through the cooking time, add the broad beans, stirring well to distribute the heat.
- Meanwhile, in a pan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta to pack instructions. We like ours al dente.
- When the vegetables are cooked, stir in the pesto to warm through and take the edge off the garlic. Stir in the cooked pasta, turning to coat. Season with freshly ground black pepper and shavings of the cheese.