Pea Pesto Pasta Salad

IMG_0948Hi there– the name of this recipe sounds rather like a tongue twister.  You know, Peter Piper… But with all those sweet peas, the firmness of the pasta and that coating of creamy pea filled pesto– it’s a fine springtime dish.

One night last week, my Larry had to work late– so this little salad turned into a picnic dinner in the conference room of his office, along with some olive bread and a bottle of wine.  It was a quiet light meal before he went back to work for a bit that evening.   But I’m thinking it would be just right to take along to a bar-b-que or a pot luck with friends.

PEA PESTO PASTA SALAD
1 1/2 cup ditalini pasta (or any smallish pasta)
2 cups peas (fresh or frozen), divided
1/4 cup loose basil leaves
1 shallot, peeled and cut in chunks
1/3 cup parmesan romano cheese, grated
1 tab. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cream (or whole milk)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
3 slices of bacon, into smallish bits

Put the pasta on to boil with a little salt and oil, according to the package directions.
Set it aside to cool.

Put the bacon on to cook, just until the small bits are crispy but not too brown.

Make the pesto by dropping one cup of the peas, the basil, shallot, parmesan romano, olive oil and garlic into a blender (or use a stick blender).  Puree until it’s all a fine mush.  Then sit in the cream and salt & pepper to taste.

Finally stir together the cooked pasta, pesto sauce and the remaining cup of peas.  Put it in the fridge to cool.  And mix in the bacon, just before setting it on the table (to keep it crispy). Enjoy!

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Shrimp & Dill Pasta Salad

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Hi there-  A while back we had a salad potluck here in the backyard under the maple trees.  You name it– green salads, potato salads, fruit salads, chicken salads…  But the one that struck my fancy was this super delicious shrimp pasta salad.  I promptly emailed to my buddy Kathy begging for the recipe.  And she was forthcoming (thanks Kathy!) with just how it was made.  I whipped up a large batch and lunched on it all week!  So I’d like to pass on the recipe for this delicious stuff to you…

SHRIMP & DILL PASTA SALAD
8 oz. tiny tube macaroni
2 tab. olive oil
a couple shakes of salt
1 smallish zucchini, cut to small thin bits
4 oz. small size shrimp
1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/3 cup green onion,  chopped
1 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
(or 1/2 tsp dried dill*)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Bring a pot of water, with the 2 tab. of olive oil and the shakes of salt, to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package directions.  Drain it thoroughly and let it cool to room temperature.   Stir in the cut zucchini, shrimp, red pepper, and green onion.  Then mix in the mayonnaise, 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, basil, dill, salt and pepper.  Put it in the fridge for at least an hour to chill and to let the flavors meld.

*I bought fresh dill to make my salad, but when I talked to Kathy who made it originally, she told me she used dried dill– and I thought hers tasted better.  But this salad is just delicious either way…