SAMFA – Orecchiette & Portabellini Pesto Salad

by Kyla Van Heerden

Serves 6


500g orecchiette or similar short pasta 

100g asparagus

100g edamame beans, shelled

100g fresh peas, shelled


2 cups basil leaves, well packed

¼ cup sunflower seeds, cashew nuts or pine nuts

 ½ cup / 40g Parmesan cheese, grated

1 clove garlic, smashed

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

½ cup / 125ml olive oil

500g portabellini mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh dill, for serving

Pink peppercorns, for serving


In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Keep it nice and al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

Strain out the pasta and allow to cool.

Using the pasta water, blanch the vegetables.

Refresh them in ice cold water and drain.

Keep them bright green with a good bite.

Slice the asparagus so it mixes well with the peas and edamame beans.

In a food processor, add all the pesto ingredients except the olive oil.

Season well with salt and pepper.

Blitz until combined.

Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the food processor until everything is a good consistency.

Scrape pesto into a large mixing bowl.

Add the cooled pasta and toss to coat well.

Add the blanched vegetables and mix.

If necessary, add a splash of pasta cooking liquid to keep things nice and loose and well coated.

Just before serving, cook the mushrooms.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan.

Add the sliced portabellinis and cook until golden brown.

Season well with salt and pepper.

Add the mushrooms to the pasta salad.

Toss to mix well.

Plate into a large bowl or onto a serving platter.

Scatter with fresh dill sprigs and crushed pink peppercorns.

Serve and enjoy!

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