Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
One of my favorite dishes from my restaurant, GIADA, in Las Vegas. The tortellini is sweet and buttery, like fluffy pillows of pasta. In the restaurant version we hand-make the tortellini and stuff them with pesto inside, but in the home version, I’ve made it even simpler by using store-bought tortellini and turning the pesto filling into a sauce.
Pea Pesto Tortellini
- 10 ounces frozen peas about 1 1/4 cup, thawed
- 1 clove garlic peeled and smashed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
- 4 ounces pancetta diced
- 1 pound fresh cheese tortellini pasta
- 1/4 cup mint leaves roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 large lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 large lemon
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peas, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper flakes. Pulse 3 to 4 times to roughly chop. With the machine running, drizzle in the oil until fully combine, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat until crispy, about 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and leave the pancetta and drippings in the pan.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini until al dente, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well reserving one cup of the pasta water. Place pan with the cooked pancetta over low heat. Add the tortellini to the pan and toss with a rubber spatula to coat. Add the pea pesto, mint, lemon zest and lemon juice. Continue to mix gently with a rubber spatula, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce, until the tortellini is evenly coated. Serve topped with more Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.