Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pasta, Pesto and Peas

This is delicious.  Let me just put that out there before I even begin.  So easy, so simple and yet so utterly good.  Especially when someone cuts a corner and uses jarred pesto…I don’t know who you are talking about…:o  Sometimes on a weeknight, quick and easy is the best way.   Not only is it delicious but it’s fairly healthy as well, unless of course you eat far more than the portion served to you!

Try it, you’ll love it even if you don’t especially care for pesto.  I used the brand Classico and it’s sold at Target and probably every other grocery store and it was oh so good for only $2.99.  You can’t beat that.  And look forward to how I used the rest of the jar…it gets even better!  I changed some things from Ina's recipe, mostly because I just used what I had on hand and I also added some pan fried chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces for some protein.

Pasta, Pesto and Peas (recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa)


  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta (i just used bow tie)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto (packaged or see recipe below)...store bought
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry  didn't use
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise  did not use
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


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, pignoli, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.


  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
  • 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, pignoli, 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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