I love a pasta salad, always. I feel like they’re one of the easiest things to throw together when I get invited to a gathering of some kind. And it’s always one of the first things that people gravitate toward. You want to show up with something that makes you feel proud. You want to show up with a winner of a dish! This is it.
The pasta salad is not super mayonnaise heavy, which I think everyone likes. There are some serious mayo haters out there (I am not one of them) but the pesto combined with the mayo makes it a nice balance.
The pesto is part arugula, part peas. It’s spring after all. I like to add those greens to the dish, too for some visual appeal. I also throw in cherry tomatoes for some nice color, but they’re entirely optional as I’m sure some of you aren’t getting tomatoes just yet.
Note: This recipe originally appeared on PBS's Fresh Tastes Blog.
- 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 2 cups arugula leaves
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- To the jar of a blender, add the peas, arugula leaves, garlic cloves, walnuts, Parmesan-Reggiano, crushed red pepper, a few pinches of salt and olive oil. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and blend once more until super smooth, about 1 minute.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Immediately add the drained pasta back to the pot. Pour the pea pesto on top and scrape out the rest from the blender. Add the pasta water to the blender and then blend. Pour the pea pesto/water mixture to the pasta and then toss everything together. Give it a taste and salt according to taste. I needed to add a few pinches of salt.
- Divide amongst bowls and then top with some grated Parmesan-Reggiano.