Sunday, March 9, 2014

QUICK and EASY Pesto Pasta with Peas - 52 Do Ahead Side Dishes

This is one of those 30 minute meals that would make Rachael Ray proud.

It's spring and I have a big patch of basil growing in my garden, but it's not yet come in enough for me to make fresh pesto.  Instead I opted for a jar of store bought.  Be sure to read the label.  No need for a lot of odd sounding ingredients.  If it is packaged correctly you really only need Olive Oil, pine nuts, cheese and a few extra seasonings.  That type is usually just a dollar more expensive than the more chemically enhanced, but worth the extra cost.

There is a trick to getting the pasta and sauce perfectly absorbed.  DO NOT Rinse your cooked Pasta.  Once it comes out of the boiling water, simply drain and add to the sauce.  The HOT pasta still with a coating of the hot starchy water absorbs liquids, leaving a pasta that is NEVER sitting in runny thin sauce.

This method also helps to heat the peas (those are frozen peas, just warmed in hot water before adding to the pasta).you want a little snap to the peas, not overcooked mushy peas.

And just to finish that 30 minute meal (I can do this in about 20 minutes btw)...

I love Rotisserie Chickens.  Store bought convenience, pre cooked, pre seasoned.  I usually make a chicken salad from the white meat and use the leg thigh quarters for a meal like this.  Dress it up a little with some BBQ sauce, reheated (350 degree oven for 20 minutes) and you have a fine, delicious, easy, FAST 20 minute meal!

Enjoy indeed!

OK... Here's what I did...

Pesto Pasta with Peas

  • 1 Box Campanelle Dry Pasta (Can substitute pasta of your choice)
  • 1 Jar Pesto Sauce (About 8 Ounces... Some come 6 Ounces which will work fine)
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • Zest from 1 medium Lemon
  • 1 Cup Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1-2 Cups Frozen Peas (Use a colander under HOT water for a few minutes to thaw... No need to cook, they are precooked. Just need to warm)
  • Additional freshly grated parmesan Cheese for Garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare pasta according to directions on the box... EXCEPT, I prefer Al Dente style (just a little more chewy). I always cook 1 minute less than what is directed on the box.
  2. Meanwhile in a large pan (I use a non stick frying pan), heat Sour Cream over medium heat. As it starts to melt, add the entire contents of the jar of pesto, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese. Stir to thoroughly mix.
  3. When the pasta is done, drain. While the pasta is still steaming hot, add the pasta to the pesto/cream sauce.
  4. Also add the peas to the pasta now in pesto/cream sauce
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Taste... Add additional seasonings to taste (I like lots of pepper and low salt... Some LOVE Salt).
  7. Garnish with a quick piece of Store Bought Rotisserie Chicken (dress it up with a brush of your favorite BBQ sauce, reheat in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (do this as you cook the pasta so everything is done at the same time).
  8. Sprinkle of additional Parmesan Cheese for garnish just before serving
  9. Serve Warm and ENJOY!


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Church PotLuck Dishes"!

A list of something NEW worthy of being shown off at a neighborhood BYODish (Bring Your Own Dish) Party, a Family special occasion dinner, Any Big Holiday Gathering or of course that glorious day when you bring a dish to share with your Church family...

Ages ago, literally almost a half century ago I was listening to our pastor talking about a PotLuck Dinner. It happened to be scheduled around a church work day when we were expected to weed, polish and do general cleaning and maintenance around the church (you know, back in the day when there were no no-wax floors and church pews smelled of Old English furniture polish). I am of course paraphrasing, but as I recall the pastor said,

"A potluck, like a church requires work. At a potluck everyone is expected to contribute.. At a church no one should come empty handed and no one should leave unfed".
I will confess that in my youth I brought more store bought plastic spoons and forks than I ever brought covered dishes and crock pots of fresh made love and caring delights. But now that I have become a hobbyist cook, I occasionally am reminded of those days and people from my youth. I reminded and I do wish that I could drop a dish of some new creation on those old tables at my fondly remembered Liberty Baptist Church.  Tables covered with newspapers and loaded with God's bounty prepared with love and caring... Enjoy


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Grilling Time Secret Extras" or "52 Ways to Cook BBQ and Grilling Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop... Over 100 in one grilling season (I love to grill!). But not just leat... Drinks, Condiments (LOTS of different BBQ sauces), Drinks, Desserts... even specialty items like GRILLED Pizza, and fun shaped Watermelons.  Easy and these ideas will make you the MASTER of your Backyard Domain!


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