Orecchiette with pea pesto and sausage

Orecchiette with pea pesto and sausage

What’s not to love about pesto? I’d eat it with every meal if I could. Especially if you pour it over pasta and mix it with hot sausage!

This recipe is a riff on pesto, with lots of fresh basil, pistachios (instead of pine nuts!) and, yes, peas. The peas add the overall vibrancy of this pesto and pack even more nutritional punch. I like to use orecchiette in this recipe since the peas and sausage nestle into this shape so well, but I’d give it a try with rigatoni or any other shape that catches sauce. Finish this off with lots of freshly grated parm and lemon zest, and dinner is served.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Orecchiette with pea pesto and sausage


  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 oz. fresh basil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. dried orecchiette pasta
  • 2 hot Italian sausage links


How to cook Orecchiette with pea pesto and sausage

  1. Cook the peas according to the directions on your package. While they're cooking, set a pot of water to boil.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup of the cooked peas, basil, garlic cloves, pistachios, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Blitz until well blended. Add in the olive oil, a generous pinch of salt and plenty of cracked black pepper and blitz again to combine. Stir in the rest of the peas, but don’t blend them this time. Set the pea pesto aside.
  3. Cook the orecchiette according to the package’s directions.
  4. To cook the sausage, heat a large pan on medium high heat. Remove the sausage meat from the casings and fry the sausage until browned. You’ll want to use a spatula to break down the sausage to prevent it from clumping.
  5. Once the sausage is browned, toss the orecchiette into the pan with the pea pesto. Enjoy hot right away with plenty of extra parmesan grated on top, plus some lemon zest too if you’re feeling fancy.
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