Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Italy Meets California in a Unique Pesto

Hello everyone! I'm bringing you my Tuesday savory dish tonight. Last night I made a dish from one of my Food Network favs - Giada De Laurentiis! I've learned to love her cross between Italian classics and light California flair. This recipe is fun because it takes a pasta staple (pesto) and transforms it with greens. This is also a great way to sneak in some greens for those picky eaters (not just the kids!). Enjoy!

Fusilli with Pea Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella
Giada De Laurentiis

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 ounces smoked mozzarella, rind removed, grated (1 cup)
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, from 1/2 a large lemon
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped


  1. For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the drained pasta in a large bowl. Add the cheese and toss until coated.
  2. For the pesto: In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peas, smoked mozzarella, spinach, Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the cooked shallot mixture. Blend until smooth, but still slightly chunky. **The recipe forgets to mention what to do with the extra 1/2 cup of olive oil. To make this more of a classic style pesto, I slowly added it to the pesto mixture, with the food processor running. I kept going until the pesto was just blended.
  4. Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.
Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.

No comments:

Post a Comment