A couple of weeks ago, I joined a new blogging group - the Barefoot Bloggers. The name of this blog has created a little confusion among my friends . . . "barefoot - as in barefoot in the kitchen and . . . . . ?" Uhh, NO! Let me clear this up: Barefoot as in "The Barefoot Contessa." You know, Ina Garten's show on the Food Network? That kind of barefoot.
Now that we have the barefoot issue cleared up, on to the recipe: Pasta, Pesto, and Peas. If I were assigned to give this recipe a tagline, it would be "perfect for spring." It was a perfect accompaniment to a warm evening, a bottle of white wine, and a good group of friends. I recommend inviting several friends, actually, because this recipe makes several servings. The four of us barely put a dent in the bowl and we weren't eating light. You can keep the leftovers covered in the refrigerator overnight, but I found it to taste the best immediately after preparation.
Pasta, Pesto, and Peas
3/4 pound fusilli pasta (I used penne)
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 (you could easily use less, and/or possibly substitute light 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 to12 minutes until each pasta is al dente (I cooked all the pasta together at one time and it turned out fine). 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. 8-12 servings
I used store bought pesto, because our [rural] grocery store didn't have fresh basil and the basil in my garden isn't ready yet. If you would like to make it from scratch, here is the recipe:
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.