Pesto Pasta (09.09.13)

Posted at 10:59 AM, Sep 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-09 15:13:55-04

For the Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (from about 2 bunches)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Sardo or Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Pasta:

  • 12 ounces whole wheat pasta (such as penne or farfalle)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 14 ounces), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces or 1 10
  • ounce package frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups baby spinach or arugula

Make pesto: Combine basil, nuts, oil and garlic in a food processor. Blend until paste forms, stopping often to push down basil. Add cheeses and salt. Blend until smooth. Transfer to small bowl.

Prepare pasta: Cook pasta per package directions. Drain and return to pot. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat while pasta cooks. Add asparagus or peas and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until asparagus or peas are tender 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Add pesto, spinach, asparagus or peas and tomatoes to pasta and toss until well combined. Sprinkle with grated or shaved Parmesan. Serve warm.