Basil Mint Pesto Pasta with Asparagus and Peas
Thanks to Sprouts Farmers' Market for sponsoring this posts
Overheard near the buffet table at a recent potluck supper: First woman, “I’m worried I didn’t bring enough asparagus. It’s nearly gone.” Second woman: “I’m worried I brought too much pasta. Who eats carbs anymore?” “Me! I wanted to say. Me! I eat carbs.” I especially eat carbs when they’re as tasty as this Basil Mint Pesto Pasta with Asparagus and Peas.
Carbs have gotten a bad rap over the years, ut if you look at some of the healthiest populations across the globes, their diets are built largely on carbohydrates. This plate of pasta is a good example of carbs gone right.
Indeed this recipe makes a delicious supper that fits into a high-quality diet. Here’s why:
- It packs in the produce. The recipe calls for two cups of fresh herbs and upwards of four cups of vegetables.
- Including all that greenery leaves a little less room for a heaping pile of pasta. Translation: it’s a balanced plate that comes in at about 400 calories a serving.
- You can use whatever stripe of pasta that suits you. Sprouts Farmers’ Market has an excellent selection of standard, gluten-free, and whole grain options, including the organic penne I used in this recipe.
- The pesto is a source of healthy fats thanks to the extra-virgin olive oil and nuts. This is also part of what makes the dish satisfying and gives it a flavorful kick.
The pesto in this recipe is a combination of both fresh basil and mint. It gets whirled in a food processor along with walnuts, garlic, Parmesan and and olive oil then tossed with blanched vegetables and hot pasta. As long as you’re making a batch of pesto, consider doubling the amount. It freezes beautifully and makes for a quick supper the next time around.
If you like Basil Mint Pesto Pasta you might like:
Spaghetti with Shrimp and Pesto by Ellie Krieger
Basil Mint Pesto Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, and Artichokes
A pasta that is as bright, fresh, and green as the first asparagus stalks and pea pods to show up in early spring. The recipe is much heavier in vegetables and lighter in pasta than your typical plate of pasta. The pesto, made of equal parts basil and mint, pulls it all together.
- 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 clove peeled garlic
- 3 tablespoons walnuts
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to pass at the table
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup English peas, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
- 2 six-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 8 ounces Sprouts organic penne or rotini pasta
Fill a medium pot with water and add enough salt that it tastes like the sea. Bring it to a boil over high heat and add the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, put the basil, mint, garlic, walnuts, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a blender or food processor and run until smooth, scraping down the sides and running again, as needed.
Cook the pasta until nearly done. Add the asparagus and peas to the boiling water and cook another 1 to 2 minutes until the asparagus is just barely tender. Reserve about ¼ cup of pasta water before draining.
Transfer pasta, asparagus, peas, and drained artichoke hearts to a large bowl. Add as much pesto as desired and stir well. Add a little of the cooking water, if needed, to moisten the pasta.
Serve with Parmesan on the side.