Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas

Can you say that five times fast?

This is another great salad from the Barefood Contessa, Ina Garten. I modified it slightly, but you can find her original here.

This is a beautiful spring salad and it got rave reviews at a luncheon I recently hosted. The two pasta shapes add visual and textural interest and the pesto and peas provide wonderful green color. Pine nuts add a great crunch, and the fresh parmesan intensifies the flavor. Could I rave about this any more?

Start by cooking the pasta. I would recommend cooking the two different shapes separately, as they'll have different cooking times. After it's done, drain, and then toss into a big bowl and drizzle with a couple teaspoons of olive oil to prevent the pasta pieces from sticking to one another.

While the pasta cooks, you can put together the "sauce." Combine the pesto, lemon juice and spinach. You can make your own pesto ahead of time (I must learn to do this) or use the jarred variety.

Puree this until well combined, then add in the mayo.

Puree again until well mixed, then add to the pasta.

Stir well to incorporate the pasta and pesto, then add the peas

and parmesan.

Finally, sprinkle on the pine nuts

then salt and pepper to taste. You'll want to serve this at room temperature - the flavors are more pronounced that way. If you need to make it ahead, bring it to room temperature before serving, and add the pine nuts at the last minute so they don't lose their crunch.

Delicious and gorgeous! Happy Spring!

Get more recipe inspiration at Cooking Thursday , the Krazy Kitchen, Foodie Friday, Friday Feasts and Food on Friday.

Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas

3/4 pound fusilli or rotini pasta
3/4 pound farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto (homemade or from a jar)
1 (10-ounce) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/4 cups light mayo
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup pine nuts
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta shapes separately in large pots of boiling water until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Drain; rinse with hot water and drain again. Pour into a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Let the pasta cool, lightly stirring ocassionally to prevent the pasta from sticking.

In a food processor or blender, combine the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Puree until well blended. Add the mayo and puree again. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pine nuts, and season to taste. Stir well and serve at room temperature. Serves 12.


  1. oh, yum! This sounds and looks so good. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I can't wait to try this. I love pesto. Thank you for sharing. Doylene

  3. We are having pesto tonight! Thanks for being a great contributor to Momtrends! Next month is food month and I've got lots of foodie ideas to share. Stay tuned!

    And for any other commenters--join the fun every Friday at

  4. This looks delicious! I am always looking for new recipes to make with pesto. I always have tons of basil in the summer!

  5. This looks delicious!! It is really up my alley, like the sort of thing I'd made and eat the heck out of every day if I could! :-)


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