Pasta, Pesto and Peas

  • 335g fusilli pasta
  • 335g bow tie pasta
  • 60ml good olive oil
  • 320ml pesto (readymade, or see recipe below)
  • 1 (280g) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 315g good mayonnaise
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • 225g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 65g pine nuts
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • For the pesto
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 30g walnuts
  • 9 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 bunches fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 320ml good olive oil
1) Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pan 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) Meanwhile, to make the pesto place the walnuts, pine nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper.

3) 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.

4) Place the spinach and lemon juice into the bowl of the food processor and puree with the pesto. Add the mayonnaise and puree.

5) Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Cook's Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

To clean the 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.

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