Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

We had this for dinner last night and it's super good - and fairly healthy!  It made for a great lunch leftover too, although not as good with water as it was with wine.  It's one of Ina Garten's recipes - the first one of her's I've ever tried.

Blurry picture from

Pasta, Pesto and Peas

3/4 pound fusilli pasta

3/4 pound bow tie pasta

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below (I used store bought pesto.  Also, the jar was smaller than what I needed, so I just cut back on the spinach, lemon juice and mayo and it was still great with enough sauce)

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise (And by good, I used fat free, and only a cup - see note above)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted

1/3 cup pine nuts (I didn't use these because they're so expensive.  I do think it was missing them, maybe just cause I love pine nuts and knew they were supposed to be there?)

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. (I was too impatient and hungry to do this and actually liked how it warm pasta both defrosted my peas, melted the cheese and warmed the sauce.)
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.

If you're feeling like you need some extra credit, below is Ina's recipe for pesto.

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup pignolis (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, 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.
Yield: 4 cups

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