Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spinach Pesto

Yes, another vegetable recipe. Maybe I should rename this blog "Desserts and Vegetables, and sometimes a little pasta." But, with my garden sprouting miniature vegetable plants and the opening of the Farmer's Market this month, who isn't excited about vegetables?

This recipe is excellent for several reasons. You can make it with baby spinach from your own garden, or with the full-grown spinach you can buy at the grocery store all winter long. It's a great compromise for those who love the taste of spinach, but not the texture. It's far cheaper than basil for making pesto. And last, it's a great way to fool your kids into eating their veggies: "No, Johnny, it's not a vegetable-- it's pasta!" (Not that I would know this from experience-- you'll have to ask Elizabeth if this worked for her)

Plus, if you want to continue on the Italian food theme, look how pretty the ingredients are:

Spinach Pesto & Spinach Pesto and Tomato Pasta

This recipe was born out of a soon-to-go-bad bag of spinach sitting in my fridge. Even for someone who really likes spinach, it's hard for two people to go through a pound of spinach before it wilts! I googled a bunch of spinach recipes and combined my favorites with my mom's pesto recipe. So this recipe can be contributed to the internet. 

Serves 4

Spinach Pesto
2 cups packed spinach leaves
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (or pine nuts)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (the real kind, not the powdery stuff that comes in a can)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

1) Toast walnuts:

2) Combine ingredients in food processor and process.

3) Admire artwork.

Spinach Pesto and Tomato Pasta

Ingredients: Chopped tomatoes (2-3 roma), Freshly made pasta (2 eggs), Spinach Pesto, and a grilled chicken breast:

1) Cook the pasta in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Drain pasta and return to pan. Add pesto and stir to combine. If you'd like your pasta to be more runny, add a little olive oil and some creme fraiche, whipping cream, or half and half. Stir in sliced chicken breast, chopped tomatoes, and extra parmesan cheese.

2) Take a picture before eating:

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