Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

So I’d like to apologize in advance for being so totally late on getting to this week’s Barefoot Blogger’s event. We were supposed to post our recipes this past Thursday but here it is Sunday and I’m just now posting. Why you ask? Well, this week’s recipe called for us to make homemade pesto which requires lots and LOTS of fresh basil. Fresh basil at my local grocery store comes in TINY portions and costs a lot. I searched and searched for farmer’s markets or other places where I might be able to buy basil in bulk to no avail. So I sucked it up, halved the recipe so I would only have to buy 2.5 cups of basil, and went shopping.

My pocket book may be hurting but my tummy is happy! This was a delicious pasta dish that we enjoyed for lunch but would also make a great take-along dish to a pot luck or barbecue. You could also throw in some chicken and make a dinner out of it.

The only problem I had with the recipe was that I found it to be kind of confusing. The pesto part of the recipe makes 4 cups of pesto but the pasta part of the recipe only calls for 1.5 cups of pesto to be processed with the mayo, lemon juice, parmesan, and spinach. I just wish it only called for you to make the amount of pesto that you need for the recipe. I ended up freezing the leftover pesto but the LAST thing I really needed was more stuff to fill my already too full freezer with. If I had paid attention to the recipe I would have cut down the pesto recipe to only make the needed amount for the pasta and saved my money on that darn basil! Grrr! Oh and unless you’re taking the recipe to share with an army of people, definitely halve or even quarter the recipe because it makes tons!

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

Source: Food Network (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 pignolis (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, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

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.

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

3 Responses to “Pasta, Pesto, and Peas”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    Your pasta looks yummy! We planted basil, because it’s so ridiculously expensive at the grocery. And I halved these recipes–the pesto and the salad. They make a ton!

  2. smellslikehome Says:

    love how this turned out for you!! i agree with Rebecca – its a great idea to grow your own basil – we have it growing in pots on our deck. we planted it Mem. Day weekend and it’s been ready to pick for over a week now. love it!

  3. Amber Says:

    This looks really tasty!

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