May 5, 2010

Barefoot Contessa's Pesto Pea Salad

Ina Garten is definitely one of Circa's favorites. This pesto pea salad is a hit and easy to make. I think I'm going to make this with Mother's Day dinner.

*Photo from The Vivacious Chef (cute blog by the way!)*
Ingredients: 2 cups of frozen peas; 2 tablespoons pignolis (pinenuts), toasted (see note); 2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves; 4 tablespoons pesto, recipe follows

Directions: Cook the peas in a pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Immediately immerse the peas in a bowl of ice cold water, and drain when fully cooled. To assemble, place the spinach leaves in a salad bowl. Sprinkle the peas and pignolis over the spinach. Add the pesto and toss.
Note: To toast pignolis, place them in a dry saute pan and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until evenly browned, tossing frequently.

Pesto Ingredients: 1/4 cup walnuts; 1/4 cup pignolis; 3 tablespoons diced garlic (9 cloves); 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed; 1 teaspoon kosher salt; 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper; 1 1/2 cups good olive oil; 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Pesto Directions: Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
(Yields 4 cups)
Try Patrick's variation! He adds grilled chicken, small mozzarella balls, and cherry tomato halves for a full dinner. He also bypasses making the pesto sometimes and picks it up from Pasta and Provisions. Genius!
*Recipe as seen on the Food Network*

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