While cleaning out the freezer in The Perfect Pantry recently, I discovered some cooked pasta, half a bag of frozen peas, and a long-forgotten container of pesto made from the last of last summer's parsley (gosh, that's a lot of P in one sentence, isn't it?). In fact, my pantry offered up every ingredient for this dish of pasta with peas and parsley-walnut pesto. If you don't have homemade pesto tucked away in your freezer, use store-bought basil pesto, and you will be very happy. And if you prefer whole wheat or gluten-free pasta, use what you love. Be sure to use good white wine and real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; when a recipe has just a few ingredients, your happiness depends on using the very best you can afford.
Pasta with peas and parsley-walnut pesto
For the pesto:
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 Tbsp roughly chopped walnuts
1 large clove of garlic
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
For the pasta:
1/2 lb short pasta (farfalle, penne, rotini, etc.)
1 small onion, diced
1 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fresh black pepper, to taste
Extra walnuts, for garnish (optional)
Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot on the stove. Cook the pasta until al dente (1 minute less than the package directions); drain (do not rinse) and set aside.
While the water is coming to a boil, combine the parsley, walnuts, garlic, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, salt, olive oil, and 2-3 tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a small food processor, and process to a smooth paste.
In a nonstick frying pan, heat the remaining olive oil, and sauté the onion for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the peas, and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the pasta and the parsley-walnut pesto from the food processor. Stir to make sure the pesto is distributed throughout all the pasta.
Pour in the wine, and add the 1/4 cup of cheese. Stir to mix everything together, and add black pepper to taste. Cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until everything is heated through and the cheese has melted.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Spaghetti with basil pesto, tomato and olives
Penne with roasted red pepper pesto
Risotto with pesto, peas and pine nuts
Slow-roasted tomato pesto
Salmon and Asian pesto potstickers
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Grilled asparagus tartines with fresh ricotta, pesto and scallions, from Panini Happy
Red pepper, parsley and walnut spread, from Always Order Dessert
Turkey pesto meatloaf with tomato sauce, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Rigatoni with walnut, parsley, and sun-dried tomato pesto, from Food Blogga
Walnut and parsley bread, from Spanish recipes
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