Hi!

Welcome to The Basil & Cinnamon Sagas! I'm Alexa, and I am a food and travel blogger who loves cooking, baking, eating, and storytelling. Enjoy reading and eating your way through the sagas of delicious food found here!

Three "P" Pesto Pasta

Three "P" Pesto Pasta


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BREAKING: The sun just peeked through the clouds, causing me to ask of Spokane, "Spring, are you coming?"

Nope, I just checked the weather and apparently the weekly forecast is: partly sunny, snow, snow, rain, rain, cloudy, snow--which is not springy at all. Which is a real shame-bummer, since I've been feeling super springy lately. This is on account of a few things:

  1. It's now March, which seems as though it should be more springlike than February was. Although now that I think about it, throughout my entire childhood, March was often one of the snowiest months--so I'm not sure where I got that idea from.
  2. There are a lot of fellow food bloggers I follow who live in LA, which has decidedly nicer weather than Spokane, and their Insta stories are giving me extreme spring fever. 
  3. My barre studio, Spokane Barre, is having a 30X40 Shake into Spring challenge, meaning that I'm taking at least 5 barre classes a week, meaning that I'm super sore basically all the time, but hopefully meaning that by the time summer rolls around, I'll have a shaken off any winter flub. I could talk for probably 16 years straight about how much I love barre--if you haven't heard of it, it's basically a mixture of ballet, yoga, pilates, aerobics, and strength. It involves a lot of isometric holds that burn out your muscles and get you shaking like crazy. It's super accessible and modifiable, making it a perfect workout for pretty much any body. And I have never found anything that makes me feel as strong, as healthy, and as fulfilled as barre does. LOVE it. 
  4. I am one week away from spring break, and I'm going to Florida! Because of that, I've been trying on all my spring/summer clothes to makes sure that they still fit (we're good, thank gosh) and dreaming of wearing things like sandals and shorts and pretty floral dresses, and going outside without my puffy Patagonia coat (which has pretty much melded to my skin by this point).
  5. Florida. How can you not dream of spring or summer when you know you're a week away from sun, sand, and surf? 
  6. Since it's almost spring break, that means I am 8 weeks (halfway) through my LAST semester of college. (!!!!!!) This is insanity and I'm not sure how to deal with that reality, so instead I'm just going to make some food.
  7. Speaking of food! Spring recipes, spring cookbooks, and spring foods are appearing left and right, coming out of the warm, cozy holes they hid in during the long, cold winter. And thank goodness for the peas, for the rhubarb and the spinach and the pesto and all the green!
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I don't know about you all, but I've had a super busy last couple of weeks. Therefore, I am thankful for recipes that take 30 minutes or less to put together, but still taste bomb. Even better, since spring and Florida and all those previously mentioned things are approaching, when I find recipes that are fast, tasty, and healthy--well, those just can't be beat.

I've created a recipe that fulfills these three standards, plus it's green, full of peas, and oh-so springy. I call it Three "P" Pesto Pasta, although I suppose with the "pesto" and "pasta" included, it's technically five P's. But the three P's that I'm focusing on are: Peppers, Peas, and Pine Nuts. Aka, some of my favorite things in the world. And, they're combined with pesto and pasta, two of my other favorite things in the world. Side note: I'm starting to feel a little like Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music with all this "these are a few of my favorite things" going on!

Bonus: this recipe is a perfect place to use the Almond & Pine Nut Basil Pesto recipe I shared last week! This will add another 10 minutes to the recipe, which brings the running total up to 30 minutes (still within the bounds of 30 minutes or less!). Plus, it's so much fun and feels so healthy to whip up a quick batch of fresh pesto. 

When using pesto on pasta, it's a good idea to use curly, curved, or ridged pasta shapes so that the pesto sauce gets caught in the twists and turns of the individual noodles and you get a scrumptious, basil-and-flavor-filled bite each time. I used casarecce this time, as the sauce fills the little rolls. Other pasta shapes that would be good with this recipe include: rotini, gemelli, orecchiette, conchiglie (shell), farfalle, fusilli, and campanelle. Let me know if you find another pasta that works nicely, though!

I wish beautiful spring weather on each and every one of you--unless you hate spring, in which case I'd recommend living in Spokane, Washington, or seeing a therapist (kidding, kidding! Except about Spokane, because this winter is ridiculous). 

Happy first weekend of March!

xoxo Alexa

PS: As always, if you make my recipe, I'd love to hear about it/see it! You can comment on this post, email me, or tag me on Instagram or Twitter with #thebasilandcinnamonsagas!

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Three "P" Pesto Pasta


Makes: 4-5 servings

Takes: 20 minutes

The Characters:

  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 box of curly, curved, or ridged pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper + 1/2 bell pepper (2 different colors)
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 jar pesto (or homemade pesto, here's my recent pesto recipe)
  • Shredded parmesan (optional)

The Saga:

  1. Fill a pot with water, salt the water, and bring to a boil over the stove. Add pasta and cook until al dente, or according to package instructions, and then drain.
  2. Wash and chop 1/2 bell pepper of one color and 1/2 bell pepper of another color into thin, 1 inch-long rectangles.
  3. Coat the bottom of a skillet in olive oil. Sauté peppers and toast pine nuts together on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. While peppers and pine nuts are toasting, put frozen peas in a microwaveable bowl. Fill until water just barely covers the peas, and microwave on half power for about 3 minutes, one minute at a time. Check after each minute to see if done. 
  5. Combine pasta, peppers, toasted pine nuts, and peas in a large bowl. Add pesto sauce and mix to coat, adding pesto until desired amount is achieved. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan if wanted, and serve!

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