Pesto, Pea, and Pasta Salad

Right now, at this very moment, I should be working on my thesis.  But there are only so many articles you can read about how poor our medical care is for those who need interpreters or the legislation on multilingual signage.  Also, it’s still hot.  So I’m going to turn on my fan and take a break from academia.

I’ve been traveling around quite a bit, and have had two consecutive family visits to tour around Sevilla, so I haven’t really been in my apartment to cook anything.  One of my favorite waiters and my favorite bars asked if I was working, or if the people with me were “mine”.  Tomorrow I go off to Rome, where I have three or four “best” gelato places to try.  Four days after I get back, I’ll be moving back to the Pacific Northwest (the economic crisis has completely erased any possibility of me getting a job here, and oh god it’s hot).  I do have several more Spanish recipes up my sleeve that I’ll be parceling out over the next year, but for those few of you who follow my blog: there will be a change in tone.  For one, I’ll have access to a full kitchen for a short time, until I finish up my Master’s and strike out on my own.  Again.  I’m going to do my best to keep on with this blog because I love it, but please have mercy if there are gaps (like just before I posted this).

Non-food commentary over.

It being hot, I am still searching for cool foods.  One of those is pasta salad. I am not traditionally a cold salad eater – I spent most of my childhood turning my nose up at potato salad and wrinkling it in disgust at macaroni salad.  Oh how times have changed… In the Pacific Northwest you can eat hot food eleven months out of the year; it’s living in Sevilla that has made me appreciate foods that do not involve turning the stove or oven on for too long, and that will subsequently cool you down and wake your appetite.

As part of my moving process, I’m preparing my plants to get passed over to my roommate.  She has little to no experience with either cooking or plants, so I’m trying to make it as easy as I can for her.  Part of that was taming the beast that is my basil plant. I’m a little heartbroken that my two year old, raised-from-seeds plants have to be parted from me, so whatever I can do to ensure that they’ll survive, I will.

Basil tree.

I hacked it off just above the new, tender branchlettes and decided to make pesto, purely to use up my plant and get rid of a whole bunch of Parmesan I had left over from my birthday party, especially since I’ll be traveling for almost a week. But the idea of hot pasta was almost repulsive, and I stared at my felled basil and wondered.

Then I remembered that Ina Garten had a wonderful recipe for a cold, pesto pasta salad.  And I was sold.  I’ve altered it because I hate spinach in anything but the rawest form.  I’ve also pared it down because I am but one person, and even then I overshot it and have been eating it for a couple of days now.  I’d say it’s good for about three people, serving size wise.

Pesto Pea Pasta Salad

Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe on

2 c dried pasta (in some fun shape)

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 c pesto

1/2 c mayo

1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best)

1/2 c Parmesan

1 c peas, thawed.

Small handful pine nuts

Salt and pepper to taste

I used the same pesto recipe as before, when we made pesto bagels. This time, I had to make it by hand because our all-in-one kitchen tool’s motor burned out and became all-in-none. As I talked about before, if you can – use a food processor. Either way it comes out delicious.

You also have to stay in Spain, knife. You have been much abused, but served me well, as the only good knife in several shitty rental kitchens.

Boil your pasta in lightly salted water until al dente.  Drain and toss with olive oil.  Let cool to room temperature.  Mix the mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Toss the cooled pasta with the sauce.  Add the peas, cheese, and pine nuts.  Mix thoroughly.  Chill.  Eat.

I ate this alone, with some roasted tomatoes and feta, and then again with ribs.  All times, delicious.  It’s actually light on the mayo, which I appreciate in this weather.  Feel free to sub in some Greek yogurt instead, as I was planning to do, but then I’d have to buy a four pack and watch the rest spoil.  That singleton living.

This would make a great picnic side dish.  Please go on a picnic, and tell me all about it.


2 Responses to “Pesto, Pea, and Pasta Salad”

  1. 1 sani panini June 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    So fresh! Love it

    • 2 desasdishes June 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks! It’s a relief to have cool down recipes to turn to. Thanks for dropping by!

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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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