Try to say the title of this one ten times!
Is it spring yet? It’s got to be close, because everything I’ve made or photographed lately has been green. Or maybe I just have a nasty case of spring fever. I’m emotionally done with winter and ready to start riding my bike again.
Too bad Mother Nature has other plans. There’s still heaps of snow over our frozen ground.
So I'll just keep thinking green instead. This cold pasta salad is based off an older Ina Garten recipe. I’ve switched it up a bit, as I couldn’t bring myself to add a whole cup-and-a-half of mayo to a weeknight dinner idea. I also liked Pecorino Romano quite a bit better than Parmesan here, but you can always switch out the cheese for your preferences.
We enjoyed this dish as an easy weeknight meal with toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with jarred bruschetta, but it would also be good as a side to sandwiches, meats or even as something to bring for a potluck.
Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas, Pine Nuts & Pecorino Romano
Fresh and green, this pasta salad is ready for spring.
3/4 pound fusilli pasta (in the bulk section)
3/4 pound bow tie pasta (in the bulk section)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups pesto, store bought or homemade
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Ramano
1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas, defrosted
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large heavily salted pot of water to a boil. Add the fusilli and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bow ties to the water and cook until both pastas are al dente. About 8 to 10 minutes total, but taste for doneness. Strain and rinse gently with cold water. Toss with olive oil and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook the spinach in the microwave according to package directions. Strain into a colander, rinse with cold water and press out the liquid with the back of a spoon. Set aside.
3. Place the pine nuts on a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Toss and repeat until toasted, about 1 minute total.
4. In a very large bowl, stir together pesto, spinach, lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt and black pepper. Add pasta, pine nuts, peas, and Pecorino Romano and toss together until the pasta is coated. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to use.
Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers. Recipe based off an Ina Garten recipe from 2001.