PESTO PASTA WITH PEAS

3 cups basil leaves, packed

3 cloves garlic, rough chopped

¾ cup good parmesan cheese, grated

¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ – ¾ cup olive oil

1-pound pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions

1 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed

Basil leaves and parmesan for garnish

Combine the basil, garlic, parmesan, nuts, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse multiple times until the basil is broken down and the ingredients are combined.  Put the food processor on low speed and drizzle the olive in through the tube until a loose paste forms.

Combine one cup of the pesto with hot pasta and peas. Toss to coat and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves and parmesan.

This pesto also works as a marinade, on chicken or pork, in salad dressing, or as a spread on sandwiches, on pizza… and so many other yummy ways!

This is a very classic recipe, but there many ways to vary the flavor in this herbaceous sauce.  Try substituting or combining other herbs like parsley or mint to the basil or use spinach or arugula.  Add sundried tomatoes for a sweeter zing or even dried cranberries.  You can even kick up the heat with a little jalapeño!

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