Pasta with Pesto and Peas

My son had his 2012-2013 Cub Scout kick-off meeting this afternoon. It was a family picnic at a local park. We brought a yummy pasta salad courtesy of Ina Garten to share with the group. This is one of my best large group recipes. It is easy to make, is colorful, and tastes delicious. The peas and spinach are kind of disguised, so even children like to eat this; my son actually requested this dish for his birthday dinner. If you want to use this as an entree rather than a side dish, serve with grilled chicken or salmon on top. What are your best recipes to share with a big group? I love anything that can be made ahead and is (fairly) easy to prepare.


  • 2 boxes bow tie pasta (2 lbs)
  • good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. pesto (homemade or purchased)
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 c. good mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 t. kosher salt
  • 3/4 t. freshly ground black pepper


  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until pasta is al dente. Drain and toss in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil to keep from sticking together. Cool to room temperature.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and continue to puree.
  • Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta, then add the Parmesan cheese, peas, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

6 thoughts on “Pasta with Pesto and Peas

    • I think it always works well for group get togethers. I love that kids AND adults usually like it! I’ve been taking the leftovers for lunch this week, and it is still yummy a few days later.

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