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Pea Pesto Pasta Salad
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Pesto has taken on many a form around these parts, featuring every ingredient from asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes to pistachios and basil. But now that spring has sprung, it’s about time the season’s star ingredient grabs the carb spotlight. Welcome to the pasta party, pea pesto!
Fresh or frozen green peas join forces with plenty of garlic, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, basil and a touch of fresh mint for added pizzaz. The duo of fresh herbs brightens the flavor of the pea pesto sauce-slash-spread, making it the perfect addition to pizzas, pastas, crostini and even chicken roulades.
So skip those store-bought sauces and tackle the real deal instead with this quick, easy, cheesy recipe that makes the perfect meatless main or seasonal side dish. Best of all, it can be served hot, chilled or at room temp for the ultimate picnic-friendly food!
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Pea Pesto Pasta Salad
- YIELD: 6 to 8 servings
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted and divided
- 2 cups lightly packed basil leaves
- 1 cup lightly packed mint leaves
- 1/3 cup unsalted walnuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 pound bowtie pasta
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 12 mini mozzarella balls, halved
In a blender, combine 1 cup peas with the basil leaves, mint leaves, toasted walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Blend for 15 seconds then with the blender running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Continue blending the pesto, scraping down the sides as needed, until it is puréed. Taste and season the pesto with additional salt and pepper as desired. Set the pesto aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it until it is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. While the pasta is still hot, add the prepared pesto and toss to combine then stir in the remaining 1/2 cup peas, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Serve the pasta salad garnished with Parmesan cheese.
This pasta salad can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.
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