As an Ina fan, I think this group is AWESOME. There are so many of her recipes that I've hesitated to try, and I hope this helps me expand my cooking horizons, so to speak.
(Don't tell Pat that these recipes are from the Barefoot Contessa; he is NOT a fan, and I can't let him judge the food before he eats it. And sweetie? If you're reading this? It's a big lie and I would NEVER cook any of her food. Love and kisses...)
So the first reicpe was Pasta, Pesto, and Peas, chosen by Elizabeth at Ugg Smell Food. Now, I must confess: this recipe caused me much stress.
First, I didn't think I liked pesto. I wasn't sure why - I love its ingredients. But for some reason, I had it in my head that I was not going to like this.
Then, I agonized over the actual pesto recipe. See, Ryan is not yet 19 months, and is still too young for peanuts. Therefore, I wondered, was he too young for the other nuts? I wasn't sure. I googled and emailed people and posted on boards before I just decided to keep the recipe as is, sans nuts.
Then, as I was cooking, it tasted like a garlic monster threw up. I LOVE garlic, but the flavor was so intense. I knew I'd have no problems with vampires...
But somehow? When it was all together? It was fabulous. FABulous. I cautioned Pat that there was a lot of garlic, and he told me he thought it was perfect. Just like me. (Okay, I added that last part.)
- 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
- 3/4 pound bow tie pasta
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
- 1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
- 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.
To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.
Yield: 4 cups