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Spring Shells with Peas and Hazelnut Pesto

Posted by  on Friday, April 8th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Rumor has it that as soon as Monday, I may be able to put my parka jacket in the closet for some much needed rest. I celebrated this potential event by bringing some Spring into my kitchen. I thought maybe if I cook and dress like it’s above 40 degrees, then maybe it will start warming up?  I am not advocating for anyone to sport  flip-flops just yet, but maybe it’s time for that pedicure. Here’s to Spring!

Spring Shells with Peas and Hazelnut Pesto recipe: my own

Shella with peas and pesto


  • Box of frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 lb shells or other tubular pasta
  • 1/2 cup of pasta water (right from the pot!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons skim ricotta


Hazelnut Pesto (From one of my favorite recipes: Chicken Milanese with Escarole Salad and Pickled Red Onions )

  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves


Bring a pot of water to a boil for the peas and pasta. Make the pesto: Use a food processor and combine the pecorino, hazelnuts and parsley. Pulse lightly until the ingredients are combined and place aside in a separate bowl. You will need the food processor again so don’t clean it yet!

Place frozen peas in a strainer and run under cold water for 2 minutes.  Add the peas in the strainer to the pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. In the food processor, puree 1/2 cup of the peas, leave the rest in tact.


Cook the shells in the same pot of boiling water that you just used for the peas. Usually they take about 14 minutes, but check your pasta box. Meanwhile, when your pasta has 9 minutes left, add the olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat and add your peas (not the pureed ones) to saute. Let cook for 3 minutes, then add the pureed peas, the pesto, and lemon zest. Cook for another 3 minutes and then add a 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Strain your pasta and add to the pot to blend everything together over the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Plate and add a tablespoon of ricotta to the top. Enjoy!

Shells with Peas

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Yummy Krissy, you weren’t lying! This looks delish. Rick is already on me to make this! This will definitely be in the weeknight rotash and is indeed going to be a wonderful spring recipe to add to my repertoire!

Thanks for the kitchen inspiration!

April 8th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

YUM! I think picky Chris will even like this, excellent!

April 8th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

This looks awesome, I want to make it right now and the best part about it is that I already have the ingredients in my kitchen!!

April 9th, 2011 at 8:58 am

That was how I came up with it! Just looked around my kitchen. Happy Birthday April!!

April 11th, 2011 at 10:33 am

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