This spring-inspired pesto pasta is the perfect entree or side dish to add to your menu for backyard barbecues and picnic lunches. Even if you aren’t dining al fresco, this pasta recipe is versatile and can be enjoyed as a satisfying lunch, dinner, or side dish any time of year.
We used in-season produce to bulk up the vegetable content of this recipe. Asparagus, leeks, and peas peak in spring months, which means they can usually be found in abundance at reasonable prices and are loaded with flavor at this time of year.
1. Prepare the pesto by placing walnuts, basil, spinach, garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt, and pepper(s) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment (or a high-speed blender) and process until fine. Pause to scrape sides of bowl as needed.
2. With the machine still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Add the Parmesan and process in short bursts -- just long enough to combine while still leaving some texture to the cheese. Set pesto sauce aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté leeks and asparagus until just softened, about 5 minutes. Set vegetables aside.
4. Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
5. Return pasta to the empty pot. And the ricotta cheese and pesto (to taste) and toss to coat. Use reserved pasta water, as needed, to achieve desired consistency.
6. Add the leeks, asparagus, and thawed peas to the pasta and toss gently.
7. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with lemon zest and additional Parmesan, if desired.
View line-by-line Nutrition Insights™: Discover which ingredients contribute the calories/sodium/etc.
|Serving Size: 1 Serving (126g)|
|Recipe Makes: 8 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 28 (14%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 3.1g||4 %|
|Saturated Fat 0.4g||2 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 1.4g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.8g|
|Cholesterol 41.4mg||13 %|
|Sodium 35.7mg||1 %|
|Potassium 179mg||5 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 37.2g||11 %|
|Dietary Fiber 2.4g||10 %|
|Sugars, other 34.7g|
|Protein 8.3g||12 %|
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Disclaimer: Nutrition facts are derived from linked ingredients (shown at left in colored bullets) and may or may not be complete. Always consult a licensed nutritionist or doctor if you have a nutrition-related medical condition.
Calories per serving: 206
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