Pasta Salad with Herb Pesto and Peas
Harvest garden veggies and herbs for this tasty summer party pasta salad.
- 1 pound tri-color short curly pasta or campanelle (you can mix the two)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (a handful)
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (a couple of generous handfuls)
- 20-25 fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup)
- 6 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves stripped from stems
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 box frozen peas (10 ounces), thawed
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 4 small celery ribs from the heart, finely chopped with their greens
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced at an angle
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over low heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes; let cool.
In a food processor, pulse to chop the toasted pine nuts, parsley, basil, tarragon, cheese, garlic and lemon juice. With the processor running, stream in 1/3 cup EVOO (eyeball it). Process until a thick pesto forms; add the remaining EVOO, if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pulse again to incorporate.
Place the pesto in a large, shallow serving dish. Add the peas and red bell pepper. When the pasta is almost cooked, add a ladle of its starchy cooking water to the pesto and mix. Drain the pasta well. Stir the celery and scallions into the sauce, add the pasta and toss to coat. Adjust the seasonings, to taste.