Pasta, pesto, and peas is a perfect party pleaser. (A lot of alliteration from anxious anchors placed in powerful posts!)
I swear the toughest thing about this recipe is waiting for the pasta to cool so you can toss it with the pesto puree.
First of all…pesto? Yum! And as easy as it is to whip up (Ina includes a recipe for homemade), I chose to save some time by buying fresh store-bought, since it was going to be blended up with chopped spinach, lemon juice and mayo anyway. Toasted pine nuts add a rich crunch to the dish, and what’s easier than using frozen peas? (I’m not a big fan of frozen veggies—save for peas, chopped spinach and pearl onions.) Plus the combo of bowties and fusilli goes a long way to making this a giant bowl of fun.
I shared the dish at two gatherings over the weekend…it got unanimous rave reviews from kids and adults alike. An excellent summer crowd pleaser for sure!
Barefoot Contessa Pasta, Pesto and Peas
©2001 Ina Garten
- 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)
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise
- 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
1. 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.
2. 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