Pea and Goat Cheese Pesto & Prosciutto Panini

Fresh or Frozen Peas have the most beautiful green color. I wouldn’t call it pea green though. More of a Kelly green. It has taken me a long time to come around to the pea.
For years my mom has put peas on everything. When we were little it was adding them in with her hamburger helper or Polish pork chops. Now it is adding them to almost every fancy pasta dish she makes.
As a child the thought of combining the vegetable side dish with the pasta entrée grossed me out. I wasn’t one of those weird “my food can’t be touching on the plate” kind of kids. But watching my mom combine her peas with her pasta just gave me the willies!
However, I did find a way to combine my mom’s love of peas with my love of a normal pasta dish. Make the peas into a pesto.
Because of their beautiful color they give the pesto that great fresh look. Combine the color with the nuttiness from the pistachios and of course the creaminess of the goat cheese and you have a way to make any dish better.
Ingredients for the Pesto
1 Cup Frozen Peas, defrosted
5oz. Goat Cheese
¼ Cup of Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
5 Large Leaves of Fresh Basil
The Juice and Zest of a Lemon
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
Ingredients for the Panini
2 Mini Whole Wheat Baguettes
10 Slices of Prosciutto
Remove the shell from the pistachios, roughly chop them, and add them to a small pan. Toast the pistachios over low heat for about two minutes.
Add the toasted pistachios, peas, goat cheese, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper to a food processor. Puree the mixture until smooth and creamy, about three minutes. Note: If you are using this sauce for a pasta, you might want to add some olive oil to loosen it up and puree another minute or so.

Spread the creamy pesto on the top half of the loaf and place five slices of prosciutto on the bottom half. Assemble the sandwich and place it on a slightly oiled panini press for three minutes.
If you don’t have a panini press you can use a grill pan or griddle. Just use a heavy pan to press down on the sandwich from above.
The pesto is great on a warm sandwich, as a sauce for pasta, or even as a filling for ravioli.
It has the ability to make a lover of “peas on everything” and the “don’t combine my veggies with my entrée” person both very happy!

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