Two words. Chorizo. Breadcrumbs. Something magical happens when Spanish cured chorizo is rendered and combined with panko breadcrumbs. Smoky, toasty with a satisfying crunch, this simple topping is the perfect foil for bright, lemony pea pesto. We love making a double batch of these breadcrumbs and sprinkling them over just about everything—from a bowl of beans (soups, too!) to avocado halves, jammy medium-boiled eggs and blanched green vegetables.
Recipe, food styling and photography by Asha Loupy
Bring a large pot of abundantly salted water to a boil over high heat.
Place the frozen peas in a medium bowl and ladle enough boiling water over to fully submerge them. Let stand for 3 minutes to defrost, drain and set aside.
Add the pasta to the remaining boiling water, reducing the heat to medium high, and cook until al dente, about 13-18 minutes (or cook according to the pasta box’s instructions if not using Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s Strozzapreti).
While the pasta is cooking make the pesto and the chorizo breadcrumbs. To make the pesto, transfer the reserved drained peas to a blender along with 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the lemon zest and juice, garlic, green herbs, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, if the pesto is too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time until you reach a silky, pourable texture. Transfer the pesto to large serving bowl, taste and adjust seasonings, as necessary. Set aside.
To prepare the chorizo breadcrumbs, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and continue to heat for another 30 seconds. Add the diced Spanish chorizo and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the fat starts to render and the chorizo starts to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat in the olive oil and chorizo mixture. Continue to cook until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to prevent them from over toasting and set aside.
Drain the pasta, reserving a half cup of the pasta cooking. Transfer the cooked pasta to the serving bowl and toss with the pesto, adding a splash or two of pasta water to thin out the sauce, if necessary. To serve, sprinkle half the reserved chorizo breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta. Serve the remaining half of the breadcrumbs at the table, spooning more over each individual plate of pasta as desired.