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Spaghetti with Creamy Spring Pea Pesto and Roasted Baby Meatballs

Spaghetti with Creamy Spring Pea Pesto and Roasted Baby Meatballs


  • 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

  • 1/2-2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 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 crème fraiche

  • 1 pound spaghetti


Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Place the meat in a mixing bowl. On a cutting board, combine the lemon zest with the parsley and two cloves of garlic and finely chop together to make a gremolata. Add the gremolata and breadcrumbs to the meat along with egg, milk, salt, pepper, 1/4-1/3 cup grated cheese and about 2 tablespoons EVOO. Combine and roll into walnut-size balls. Arrange on a nonstick baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Wash your hands after handling the raw meat. Place a large pot of water on stove to boil for the spaghetti. Simmer the peas in stock, covered – 5 minutes if raw, 2 minutes if frozen. Remove from the heat. Add 1 cup peas to a food processor. Once the peas are cooled to room temperature, add the remaining clove of garlic and the basil, mint, salt, pepper, 1/4-1/3 cup EVOO and the remaining cheese. Process into a pesto sauce. Return the peas and stock to the heat, bring to a low simmer and stir in the crème fraiche. Keep warm over low heat and let thicken. Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water to al dente. Remove 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta. Stir the pesto into the creamy peas and combine with the pasta and meatballs. This is one of many "Yum-o!" recipes – it's good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael's nonprofit organization, visit