Friday, March 4, 2011

Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas, Pine Nuts & Pecorino Romano

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
Printer Version
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.


Patricia @ ButterYum said...

I always wanted to try that one, but the mayo kept me away. Glad you lightened it up! Now, if I could only get my kids to eat peas...


Unknown said...

I love a meal like this, bring it on to feed me all week at work. Have a nice weekend.

Mauimandy@The Grains of Paradise said...

This is stunning! It must be pea season on the Mainland because they seem to be a big blog topic again! Yay!! Looks like I need to get me some!

Sasa said...

Feels like spring looking at this, so fresh :) Now, for temperatures above freezing, come on Austria!

Ann@ Apples and Twinkies said...

I too have spring fever. Your dish looks like a picture of spring. So healthy and fresh.

Gwen said...

This is the kind of recipe that makes me squeel in delight! So delicious.

Monica said...

This sounds delicious!

Kristen said...

This burst of color is exactly what I need to see on my dinner table. Looks delicious, Laura!

Monet said...

Hi Laura,
I'm always looking for good potluck recipes, and this looks like a Spring time delight! Thanks for sharing with me tonight. Enjoy your weekend...take time to rest, laugh and eat some great food!

Peggy said...

I can't wait for spring time either! This pasta salad sounds really great and I'm so glad you lightened it up on the mayo!

Mary @Delightful Bitefuls said...

Haha, I'll make sure our hubby's are in touch! Around here, dessert is often called dinner - hah! So, sometimes there is an itch for something healthy, sometimes ;)

This Pesto Pasta salad would definitely cut it thought! I love pesto - this looks and sounds divine! I'll definitely have to give it a shot - love all the green in this dish!

Mary :)

Kat said...

Laura, it sounds delicious. I can't wait for spring either. If you get a chance, please visit my blog. I am having a giveaway. Have a great weekend.

Unknown said...

This looks wonderful. I love pesto with pine nuts.

Amee said...

looks picnic friendly too! :)

Susan at said...

This looks fabulous! We are SO ready for Spring here in Omaha!


Susi's Kochen und Backen said...

This salad sounds absolutely wonderful Laura. Can't wait to make this for my family!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I love pesto and pasta together, Laura. This is just the kind of dish me and my boyfriend can wholeheartedly agree on mmmm.

Anonymous said...

When do you add the lemon juice? I couldn't find it in the directions.

The Cooking Photographer said...

Oh I'm sorry! Add it at the end when you mix everything together.


Sophia said...

Pasta salads are so delicious, and yours seriously looks so tasty! Awesome job! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living's Picnic Pasta Salad Recipe Contest!

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