Spring Green Pasta with Parsley Walnut Pesto

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parsley pesto pastaThe spring weather reached havoc here in the midwest with major flooding all around us last week. As I drive through my neighborhood I see piles and piles of peoples belongings in dumpster after dumpster, many homes are uninhabitable just a few blocks from me, one of them a close friend of mine. For some reason my house was spared and not a drop of water came in. I feel guilty and grateful all at the same time.
parsley walnut pesto Yesterday was a comfort food kind of day, something simple and easy but full of bright flavors. The key to this pasta dish is the parsley walnut pesto. Fresh parsley, toasted walnuts, grated parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon zest and juice all swirled with extra virgin olive oil, you could slather this on anything and it would be good!

zucchini stripsI decided to slather it all over spaghetti along with strips of yellow squash and zucchini, peas, asparagus and spinach. This is what I call cozy and delicious spring comfort food!
The pesto clings to the warm pasta, every bite has intense flavor!
Toasted walnuts and shaved parmesan tops this dish off, all you’ll need is a bowl and a fork!

Spring Green Pasta with Parsley Walnut Pesto
  • For the Parsley Walnut Pesto
  • 2 cups fresh parsley
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • ½ cup grated parmesan or romano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ½ to ¾ cup of olive oil
  • For the Pasta
  • ½ lb. spaghetti or linguine
  • 2 medium zucchini julienned
  • 1 yellow squash julienned
  • 1 lb. small asparagus cut on the diagonal
  • ½ cup of peas
  • a good handful of fresh baby spinach
  • reserved ½ cup of pasta water
  1. For the Parsley Pesto, place parsley, garlic and toasted walnuts in food processor bowl, pulse until well incorporated. Add in remaining ingredients and process until you get a nice smooth consistency
  2. For the pasta, prepare your squash first by making thin strips julienne style, you can do this with a mandoline, a julienne vegetable peeler, or by hand cutting planks and then making the strips with the tip of your knife like in the photo above. When finished, quickly saute until slightly wilted, a minute or two.
  3. Saute the peas and asparagus together in a little olive oil just until al`dente tender. set aside.
  4. Cook pasta and reserve some of the pasta water. When finished, toss hot pasta into a large bowl along with all the other vegetables, the peas, asparagus, squash and spinach. Add 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of the pesto, adding more if needed and to your taste. If you want to thin it out add some of the pasta water.
  5. The leftover pesto keeps well in the fridge.
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  1. Pesto and hot pasta are a match made in carb heaven…this is a dish I’d love to come home to on a Spring evening.

  2. My husband made this for some friends and I to celebrate my birthday (along with a whitefish that we call panga here in The Netherlands). Delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I am an expat from IL living overseas and am looking forward to trying some of your Chicago recipes that I miss so much.

  3. Allison Daisley says

    Another completely delicious dish! Thank you for adding a little spring colour and love to my table. I added a sliced chicken breast on top – just for a bit more protein.

  4. ooooohhh… This pasta looks so tasty!! The colors are amazing 🙂 a beautiful idea to combine all the best spring has to offer!

  5. It’s so much fun to play with whatever herbs look good when you make pesto. I’m glad you managed to avoid the flood!

  6. What wonderful flavors, and so perfect for this time of year. I love parsley pesto – it’s been my go to “before the basil crop comes in” pesto for along time now. I enjoy the clean flavor and touch of lemon in the parsley. Nice knife work too, Marie!

    I am glad you escaped the flooding. It is so terribly devastating, and one never knows when one might fall victim to the vicissitudes of Mother Nature.

  7. I actually have all sorts of pesto from last autumn. Love pestos of all kinds slathered on vegetables. We hear spring is coming … but I switched to spring eating ’cause I could. Glad your home survived the deluge. Weather has become a scary phenomenon as of late.

  8. Lynn Brock says

    My family will love this great combo of flavors. Thanks for the recipe and the photography, as usual, is lovely.
    Your new Sauces My Way is a big hit out in CA.!!!
    So glad you escaped flooding.

  9. It always brightens my day when I get an email that “Proud Italian Cook” has a new recipe for me to view! This is exactly what I’ve been craving! Veg and pasta, but not a cold pasta salad. I can’t wait to make this and try the pesto, my mouth is salivating just talking about it Hah! I’m so glad your family is safe and I’m sorry to hear your friends wernt so lucky, but as the above posts said, I’m sure you are doing everything possible to make sure everyone feels secure and “at home” that was affected. You are a gem 🙂 Thinking of you from Tampa!

  10. Knitting Mania says

    This is my kind of pasta dish! Always enjoy popping in to see what’s cooking!

    Happy Tuesday!

  11. This looks amazing! Our first mid-week farmers’ market of the season starts tomorrow and I am planning to scoop up the ingredients. Can’t wait to give this a try. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  12. This looks spectacularly good, the colours are so vibrant, it’s Spring on a plate!
    Don’t feel guilty that you were spared the flooding, I’m sure you’re helping your neighbours any way you can.

    Glad to find you!

  13. This must be the pasta recipe of the year so far for me! Methinks it is not an accident that all the ingredients for this healthy and appetizing dish already somehow seem to sit in my kitchen! Now only time waits for me to put all of them together 🙂 ! Never mind that spring will take some six months to arrive here Down Under 🙂 !

  14. I love your website…I love your recipes..you inspire me. thank you Marie.
    Stay Dry! I bet you are the best neighbor!
    Ross Long

  15. Our Marie is back in action – and with another beautiful mouth-watering dish. So glad you’re ok and your house too, but so sorry for those who suffered damage.

  16. Love the beautiful, bright spring colors of this dish! Looks delicious!

  17. Hi,
    I swear, I just made an arugula, green onion and parsley pesto with walnuts! How funny.
    Glad you are back to business with health and cooking.
    We can relate to the damage and devastation here in NJ, after Hurricane Sandy. Hope things get back to normal for Chicago soon. It’s been a rough year. xo

  18. Pat @ M8ille Fiori Favoriti says

    This looks spectacular, Marie! I love the addition of yellow squash strips to the pasta mixture.

    I am happy to hear you did not have flood damage from your recent storms! The same thing happened to us during Hurricane Sandy. when I lived in Brooklyn, NY. Two blocks away from all sides of our house were severely flooded, while we were spared. I felt so happy, but also so bad for all those who had damage. Now we are expecting another snowstorm here in Colorado! This has been an unusual spring for many areas of the country!

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