Penne with Walnut Pesto and Peas


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

Weeknight Gluten Free

Weeknight Gluten Free

By Kristine Kidd

Published 2013

  • About

There was no way I was going to give up pasta with pesto sauce, bursting with fresh basil, when I went gluten-free, so I sought out great gluten-free pastas. This all-purpose sauce is also good over chicken or fish.


  • Fresh basil leaves, 2 cups (2 oz/60 g) packed
  • Shallots, 2, or 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • Walnuts, ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g)
  • Lemon zest, 2 teaspoons finely grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper Extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml)
  • Pecorino romano cheese, ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) freshly grated, plus more as needed
  • Gluten-free penne pasta, ½ lb (250 g)
  • Sugar snap peas, 10 oz (315 g), strings removed
  • Shelled English peas, 10 oz (315 g), or 1 package (10-oz/310 g) frozen peas


  1. In a food processor, combine the basil, shallots, walnuts, lemon zest, and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until finely ground. With the machine running, gradually add the oil. Mix in ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) of the cheese. Season to taste with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
  2. Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling salted water and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes (or 4 minutes less than the cooking time indicated on the package). Add the sugar snaps and peas and cook until the pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes longer.
  3. Remove ¾ cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) of the pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and peas. Put the pesto in a large bowl. Whisk in enough of the reserved cooking water to thin to a sauce. Add the pasta and vegetables and toss to coat. Thin with more cooking liquid and season with salt if needed. Serve right away, passing additional cheese alongside.