Green Pea Pesto with Shells and Sausage

If your basil plants have quit producing or you’re like me and aren’t lucky enough to have basil plants yet, I have a pesto recipe for you that substitutes peas for basil leaves.  It is bright, delicious and would be great with grilled chicken, sausage or on its own as a vegetarian dish.

Do you have any variations on the traditional basil+parmesan+pinenuts+olive oil pesto?

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What to buy (serves 2-3):

  • 10 ounce package frozen peas
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling on finished dish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 ounces  macaroni shells
  • 1/2 pound to 1 pound spicy sausage, cut into bite-size pieces (use whatever kind you prefer)

What to do:

  • bring a saucepan of 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil
  • add peas and cook for 2 minutes, drain
  • set aside 1/2 cup of your cooked peas
  • add remaining peas to food processor or blender with garlic, pine nuts, 1/2 cup parmesan, olive oil and salt until smooth
  • cook macaroni until al dente, drain and set aside 1 cup of pasta cooking water
  • toss pasta with pesto, reserved peas and reserved pasta water as needed if pesto is too thick
  • add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parmesan, serve immediately

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