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Bright Green Pasta Pesto with Crispy Ham

The secret ingredient that will keep your pesto a brilliant bright green every time.

  • Author: by Serena Ball, RD
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces thin deli ham, cut into thin ribbon slices
  • 1 (12-13 oz) box tri-colored rotini pasta
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons aged cheese (such as Parmesan; I used Cabot aged Cheddar)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) basil leaves
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) carrot top leaves

Instructions

  1. In a dry skillet, cook ham until most slices are golden brown and crispy.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving about 1/2 cup pasta water. Keep pasta warm.
  3. While pasta is cooking, place all remaining ingredients except carrot and basil leaves in food processor; push 5 times.
  4. Add carrot leaves and basil leaves. Pulse just a few times- about 2-3 times – until pesto is combined and leaves are finely chopped.
  5. Place pasta in serving bowl and stir in amount of desired pesto; add a little pasta water if pasta seems dry. Top with crispy ham.