Pasta, Pesto and Peas

by Melissa on June 12, 2008

I am so glad I decided to join the Barefoot Bloggers, had I not, this recipe is not one I would have made on my own. I have never really cared for pesto, so I was a little hesitant about making this recipe. I love everything that goes into it- fresh basil, nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil, just not blended together. However, I chose to make the homemade pesto recipe included and I was thrilled with the results! Homemade pesto is so much better than the pre-packaged stuff. The flavor was very fresh and had a little bit of a bite from the garlic. I did increase the amount of Parmesan cheese a little because I love Parmesan.

This pasta dish would be perfect for a potluck or summer barbeque. I decreased the amount of mayonnaise after reading what some of the other Barefoot Bloggers did, and I used light mayo. I also added some grape tomatoes and Nate added some leftover grilled chicken strips to his. This was a nice, light dinner on a very hot night. **Update** I have had the leftovers for lunch the past 2 days and they were even better!

Thank you to Elizabeth over at Ugg Smell Food for choosing this recipe from Barefoot Contessa Parties! The recipe can also be found at foodnetwork.com. Visit the Barefoot Bloggers website to learn more about us and see what else we will be cooking up this month!

Pasta, Pesto and Peas

  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta (I used all bow tie)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise (I used 3/4 cup of light mayo)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 container of grape tomatoes, cut in half

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Pesto (I made half of the pesto recipe, but kept the full amount of Parmesan)

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves) (If you do not love garlic, use less)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.

Yield: 4 cups

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa June 12, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Looks great with the tomatoes!

Reply

Rebecca June 12, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Mmmm, cherry tomatoes and grilled chicken. I think the leftovers might make a light summer dinner–tonight!

Reply

Erin June 12, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Holy smokes- I couldn’t stop scrolling down. Everything looks SO amazing! The pasta, the trifle, the potatoes, the cupcake bites…. Gorgeous pictures and breathtaking food…

Reply

Liliana June 12, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Looks great with the cherry tomatoes – nice contrast of colors.

Reply

Debinhawaii June 13, 2008 at 2:33 am

Looks really good. I think the reason I thought I didn’t like pesto was lack of tasting a good homemade one. I ended up really enjoying this recipe.

Reply

Annie June 13, 2008 at 3:06 pm

This looks great, and I love the addition of cherry tomatoes and chicken. I think I’ll be trying this!

Reply

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