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Barefoot Bloggers: Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

June 12, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers June Recipe #1: Pasta, Pesto, & Peas.   OK, so I was a little skeptical when I heard that my friend, Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food, chose this recipe for the first official (Herbed-Baked Eggs was a trial run) of the Barefoot Bloggers ode to Ina cooking and baking blogging group (which by the way, is up to 67 members!).  I don’t know what it was – probably the peas that I’m never thrilled with…and after reading the comments in the Musings posts that the dish has mayo WITH pesto, my skepticism jumped a little.

This is why I’ve started this group.  There are so many Ina recipes that I come across and turn my nose up at because of how my brain processes the combination of ingredients – before allowing my mouth to try the food.  And I should know by now how tried and true so many of her recipes are – I should trust more.

Trust I did this week.  And I LOVED this dish!!  I cut way back on the mayo – to probably about 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp, just enough to help further emulsify the pesto mixture.  I halved the recipe and was still left in an insane amount of pesto mixture which I had to throw out because I’m away on business this week and since DH’s bout of “food poisoning” (where I wasn’t sick in the least) with the spinach pesto sauce I made a couple of months ago, he wouldn’t even touch this one.  And it’s a shame he won’t eat it but at least I have something to look forward to when I return this weekend!  It’s a bigger shame because I made the pesto especially for him without nuts because he’s allergic to them – although the pesto was amazing!!  Next time, I’ll  consider buying the pesto if I’m in a pinch.  I used whole wheat organic pasta and served it alongside a nice lean flank steak I threw on the grill seasoned with some herbes de provençe.  What a nice complement to each other!  The pesto was outstanding with the steak!!

So that’s it from me this week.  As you read this, I’ll be in DC at a conference my job is hosting (and that I planned!) and will return on Saturday.  I’ll be keeping up with BB requests as they come in while I’m gone.  To see how the other rest of the BB group did with their first recipe, check out the Who’s Turn Is It? page on the BB blog.


May BB recipe: Herbed-Baked Eggs from Barefoot in Paris as chosen by me

Next June recipe (for June 26th): Parmesan Chicken from Barefoot Contessa Family Style as chosen by Megan of My Baking Adventures


Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!

  • 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 After halving the recipe, I still only used 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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  Used just over 2/3 cup
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  1. 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


23 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2008 7:41 am

    Your pasta salad looks good! I also too cut down on the mayonnaise but added extra olive oil.

    Nice photos!

  2. June 12, 2008 8:05 am

    Your pasta looks so wonderful-so fresh. I love the bright green hue and I loved the taste of my pasta also. I’m having fun using my extra pesto now, too.

  3. June 12, 2008 8:35 am

    Your pasta looks great Tara! My initial reaction to the recipe was the same as yours and I too, really ended up enjoying this one. Thanks again for coming up with Barefoot Bloggers. I’m so happy to be a part of this group. 🙂

  4. June 12, 2008 8:46 am

    Looks good. Too bad you had to waste the pesto. Pesto without mayo freezes really well. Love the idea of serving it with steak.

  5. June 12, 2008 9:24 am

    Looks delish! Thanks for starting this group, it is a great way to try delicious recipes and share them.

  6. June 12, 2008 9:56 am

    Nice pics! This isn’t one I would have tried on my own, but I love it.

  7. June 12, 2008 10:15 am

    Isn’t it funny, I skip recipes for the same reason – you think about the combo of ingredients and it turns you off – but then you try it and WOW!

  8. June 12, 2008 11:24 am

    I used fresh peas for this, and I really liked it that way. Isn’t the color beautiful?

  9. June 12, 2008 11:43 am

    Lovely pasta and it does make a nice compliment with steak!

  10. June 12, 2008 11:48 am

    I get like you do also with turning my nose up at certain ingredients

  11. June 12, 2008 12:10 pm

    Thanks for starting this group! Love it!

  12. June 12, 2008 12:16 pm

    Looks wonderful! I was so excited to make this and we loved it too!

  13. Kelly D permalink
    June 12, 2008 1:27 pm

    It looks perfect, nuts or not. Too bad your spouse wasn’t up for it but I could see where it might not be appetizing after food poisoning.

  14. June 12, 2008 2:52 pm

    Yum! That sounds so good with the steak and pesto combo. Way to go! 🙂

  15. Melissa permalink
    June 12, 2008 4:06 pm

    I felt the same way you did about trying the pesto, but I am so glad I did! Yours looks delicious!

  16. June 12, 2008 7:50 pm

    Yours and mine look very much alike. I didn’t realize that there was too much mayo until I tasted it, so you’re one step ahead of me. Great job and thanks for starting this group!

  17. June 12, 2008 9:02 pm

    It looks delicious! Great job! I probably should have cut back on my mayo too…I had an insane amount of pesto sauce and pasta!

  18. June 13, 2008 2:44 am

    Your salad looks great! I was skeptical as well–more for the pesto than anything but I really liked it too. Thanks for starting the Barefoot Bloggers it is fun to try things you would not normally make!

  19. June 14, 2008 12:57 am

    I loved this recipe. I cut way back on the mayo too. and the pesto. But I really should of cut the whole recipe in half because it does make a ton.

  20. June 16, 2008 8:32 pm

    that look so springy fresh! yum!

  21. June 18, 2008 10:55 am

    Your pesto is so gorgeous and green! I knew I should have put that spinach in there! oh well. Can’t wait for Parm Chix next week!


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