There was a glimmer of summer that happened this week when the sun was out and the temperatures hit the 70s and I was delighted. I started to get that early summer buzz where I want to skip through the farmers market, spend every ounce of daylight outside on the patio, and get my summer BBQ on! You can say this recipe is like training for those summer BBQs; I’m getting my creative juices flowing and trying to think of new spins on the classic summer party sides. My family loves a pesto pasta salad so I took a crack and giving it an update with a mint and pea based pesto, tossed with Prince Pasta Medium Shells (did you know 38 of Prince Pasta products are now Non-GMO Project verified?). Shells are a clear choice because their little shell pockets get filled up with bursts of pesto and cheese and fresh peas. My hope is that by packing the recipe with fresh herbs and veggies, it’s slightly healthier than our traditional pesto pasta salad recipes — and it’s bursting with fresh summer flavors. Full recipe below:
- 2½ Cups of fresh peas, divided
- ⅔ Cup of pine nuts, toasted
- 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh mint leaves
- Juice of two lemons
- 3 Garlic cloves, smashed
- ¼ Cup of Olive Oil
- 1 lb Prince Pasta Medium Shells
- ¼ to ⅓ Cup of reserved pasta water
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
- Bring water to a boil and cook peas for 1-2 minutes, removing and dunking in an ice bath to stop cooking.
- Bring water back to a boil and cook pasta to al dente, drain and reserve pasta cooking water.
- In a food processor, combine 2 cups of the cooked peas, toasted pine nuts, mint leaves, lemon juice and garlic.
- Stream olive oil into the food processor and continue to pulse until ingredients are combined.
- In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the pea and mint pesto, and add in some of the reserved pasta water to coat (add this slowly and use between ¼ to ⅓ cup), and finally the reserved ½ cup of peas.
- Season with salt and pepper and top with grated parmesan cheese.
- Serve hot immediately, or refrigerate for 1-2 hours to serve as a cold pasta salad.
Please note: This post was created in partnership with Prince Pasta. All opinions, images, and recipes are my own.