June 12, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers- Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

This week's Barefoot Blogger recipe was chosen by Elizabeth from Ugg Smell Food. I was so excited that I made it the day I saw it and it was a good as it looks! I made a half recipe and it yielded a big batch of pasta that tasted yummy warm and great cold out of the fridge. This recipe is also easy to assemble and is much more interesting than a normal pasta salad. The pesto is also easy to make and worth the extra flavor the homemade stuff adds. I omitted three quarters of the mayo and used healthy pasta so between that and all the spinach and peas I felt pretty good about this dish, not to mention the amazing taste! Don't miss the other Barefoot Bloggers' takes on this recipe- with all that pesto, it's sure to make you crave Italian!

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas
from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa
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 (I would not recommend fresh spinach, it significantly changes the flavor of the dish)
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.

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


  1. The pasta looks fantastic in the red dish. What a nice break from baking.

  2. Didn't you love it? It was delish. Love the pics. Me and my brother were fighting over the cold leftovers.

  3. Love the pic of "before mixing!"

  4. great job on the PP&P! wasn't this great!?

  5. I loved this pasta too! Very tasty! Great job! Your pic looks great!

  6. Yummm! we loved it!!!! what a great recipe!

    great photos too!

  7. Anne:
    I've got an award for you on my blog tomorrow...

  8. Great job on the pasta--love all the pictures!