Pasta Salad with Herb Pesto and Peas

August 2006
Pasta Salad with Herb Pesto and Peas

by 5 people

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Makes: 8 servings

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 15 mins

  • Salt
  • 1 pound tricolor short curly pasta or campanelle (I mix the two)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (a generous handful)
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley (a couple of generous handfuls)
  • 20 - 25 fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup)
  • 6 sprigs of fresh tarragon, leaves stripped from stems
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), eyeball it
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 10 ounce box  frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 small celery ribs from the heart, finely chopped with their greens
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced at an angle
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  2. Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over low heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes; let cool.
  3. In a food processor, pulse to chop the toasted pine nuts, parsley, basil, tarragon, cheese, garlic and lemon juice. Turn on the processor and stream in 1/3 cup of the EVOO. Process until a thick pesto forms; add the remaining EVOO if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pulse again to incorporate.
  4. Place the pesto in a large, shallow serving dish. Add the peas and red bell pepper. When the pasta is almost cooked, add a ladle of its starchy cooking water to the pesto and mix. Drain the pasta well. Stir the celery and scallions into the sauce, add the pasta and toss to coat. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  • Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (New Zealand)