I almost didn’t post this because, to me, the recipe seemed a bit too simple to waste your precious time with. But it really is good, healthy, and packed full of fiber. It’s a twist on Pasta Pesto that we’ve all had many times before…I grew up on it and still love it. But this is just a different, healthier way to get the same kinds of flavors. I added fresh green beans that I cut to the same size as the penne and made a multi-herb pesto instead of the Pesto Genovese that I grew up with. I also snuck in some peas to the pesto itself to stretch it out and add more green to the sauce. This could be eaten warm as a light dinner or side dish, or it can be chilled and eaten as more of a pasta salad. Hope you enjoy…
To make the pesto-(enough to sauce 4-6 servings of the pasta)
-In a small food processor, add equal parts fresh basil, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, thyme and mint. (‘Equal parts’ meaning a rough handful of each while they were still on their stems after I picked them from my garden, not necessarily equal parts of the leaves themselves.)
-Add to that a big handful of defrosted, frozen peas, 2-3 cloves of garlic, a handful of Asiago cheese, the zest of 1 large lemon, a pinch or two of salt, and a good amount of extra virgin olive oil.
-Pulse until everything is equally mixed and looks like a slightly thin pesto. You may need to keep adding oil until the right consistency is reached.
To finish the dish-
-In a large pot of heavily salted, boiling water, cook equal parts whole wheat penne and fresh green beans, that you’ve cut to match the size of the penne. (You can cook them all together as long as you cook the pasta first, then 1 minute before it’s al dente add the green beans. They only take a minute at the most.)
-Drain the pasta and beans and add to a large bowl. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a good handful of grated Asiago cheese*. Toss to coat.
-Add your pesto to the bowl and toss to combine.
(*note-adding a bit of oil and grated cheese to your hot pasta before adding the sauce allows the sauce to better stick to the pasta…the oil sticks to pasta, cheese to oil, sauce to cheese.)
Great idea cutting the beans to the size of the pasta! I never even though of that one…very healthy and fits into my exercise eating/300 calories four times a day with snacks of course- a woman told me at the pool today that was not enough- when you are losing weight 1200 calories is a lot of food, the right portions too for normal eating, boy are we glutenous eaters these days…
I agree that I love the beans–and the peas in the pesto. Your picture looks lovely!
Thanks ladies! It is a great dish when you're thinking of being healthy..it's not 'diet food' but very health conscience. And cutting the beans makes it just a bit cuter…and fun for little ones too.