Orecchiette & Portabellini Pesto Salad

A unique short pasta dish with pesto, asparagus and edamame beans.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Lunch, Pasta Perfect
Cuisine Italian, South African
Servings 6


For the pasta

  • 500 g orecchiette or similar short pasta
  • 100 g asparagus
  • 100 g edamame beans shelled
  • 100 g fresh peas shelled

For the pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves well packed
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds, cashew nuts or pine nuts
  • ½ cup/40g parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 125 ml olive oil

For the main

  • 500 g portabellini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh dill, for serving
  • Pink peppercorns, for serving


For the pasta

  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
    Keep it nice and al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
    Strain out the pasta and allow to cool.
  • Using the pasta water, blanch the vegetables.
    Refresh them in ice cold water and drain.
  • Keep them bright green with a good bite.
    Slice the asparagus so it mixes well with the peas and edamame beans.

For the pesto

  • In a food processor, add all the pesto ingredients except the olive oil.
    Season well with salt and pepper.
    Blitz until combined.
  • Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the food processor until everything is a good consistency.
    Scrape pesto into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the cooled pasta and toss to coat well.
    Add the blanched vegetables and mix.
  • If necessary, add a splash of pasta cooking liquid to keep things nice and loose and well coated.

For the mushrooms

  • Just before serving, cook the mushrooms.
    Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan.
    Add the sliced portabellinis and cook until golden brown.
    Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Add the mushrooms to the pasta salad.
    Toss to mix well.
  • Plate into a large bowl or onto a serving platter.
    Scatter with fresh dill sprigs and crushed pink peppercorns.
    Serve and enjoy!
Keyword italian, pasta, salad