The other night I didn't want to make too much of a fuss with dinner so I decided to make some pasta. Although, I have some tomato pan sauce in my freezer, I opted to make some fresh pesto with spinach instead. Best idea ever. We've been eating it every day since we made it.
Inspired by a recipe from HTCE, of course, this can be made quickly after work or on a busy weekend. This was the first time I used my new KitchenAid blender* and I was able to whip up the pesto within a matter of minutes. (It actually took longer to cook the linguine than to make the sauce. Ha!) Because you could use arugula or any leafy green, it's easily adaptable. And, like most of my favorite recipes, the measurements don't need to be exact. Just threw some ingredients into the blender and you'll be fine.
Spinach Pesto (inspired by Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything)
Makes ¾ to 1 cup, enough for 6-8 servings
2 cups (or 2 large handfuls) baby spinach
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
2-3 tbsp walnuts
salt and pepper, to taste
½ to ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Add the spinach, basil, garlic, walnuts, salt, and pepper to the blender. Pulse a few times. Add ¼ cup of the olive oil and pulse a few more times. With the motor running, add the additional olive oil to make a creamy sauce, stopping the blender occasionally to scrape down the sides if necessary.
How much oil you add will depend on how much greens you use and how thick you want the pesto be. The spinach makes this a creamier-and-slightly-less-zesty version of traditional pesto, but it doesn't lack for flavor. It's still aromatic and tasty.
I like this with just plain pasta and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If that's not enough, I highly recommend the combination of pasta and some sauteed kale along with the pesto. It's become a household favorite meal. It can also be used with grilled chicken or shrimp.
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