Say that three times fast.
I just cannot stop with the pesto. It's becoming a weekly staple and we are eating it on ALL OF THE THINGS. With Spring and Summer right here at our doorsteps, I'm already thinking about all of the creative pestos I can whip up with all of the fresh herbs and spices. My friend Rachel introduced me to parsley pesto awhile ago and I've spiraled out of control since. Last week's batch of pesto didn't last long, as I ended up using it as a daily dip for my afternoon snack. Plantain chips, carrots, radishes. Pesto is the new hummus in my house apparently.
I went back to basics with this simple pasta side dish this past weekend and everyone was in love. Sometimes all you need is easy...and pesto pasta is always so easy to love. A little pasta goes a long way. Having it as a side dish is a great way to get the pasta fix! We served this with grilled chicken thighs, grilled eggplant and salad.
This petite penne is perfect for a pasta side like this one. It's Barilla brand and is labeled as "mezze penne". I used my arugula pesto recipe as a guide but used all basil instead of the arugula and added another handful of walnuts for a thicker pesto. I'm loving walnuts for pesto, by the way! They are meaty and rich and give a great consistency to the pesto- and way more budget friendly than pine nuts. Adding peas gave the dish an extra pop in each bite and is the perfect addition to Spring cooking. The best part about this pasts is that it can be served warm, room temperature or even cold. Toss in grilled chicken or shrimp, or top with roasted salmon to make this a complete meal.
Pesto, Peas + Penne
1 lb. mezze penne (small penne)
2 cups frozen organic petite peas
Pecorino Romano, grated
Cook penne according to instructions on the package. Once pasta is al dente, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Transfer hot pasta to a bowl and add frozen peas. The peas will thaw and warm with the pasta. Add pesto, a heaping spoonful at a time, until penne is covered with the desired amount. Grate parmesan cheese on top and toss while pasta is still warm. Serve warm or at room temp.