|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
A fresh, vibrant green spinach pesto sauce flavors the pasta in this easy dish. The pesto sauce is a snap to fix with a food processor and fresh spinach, garlic, pine nuts, and garlic.
The pesto can be adjusted to suit your tastes. If you like a lemony pesto, add about 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and the zest of half a lemon to the food processor along with the spinach leaves. If you like lots of garlic flavor, add an extra clove or two of garlic. Or add more basil if you want more of that flavor.
Make sure you take the time to clean the spinach thoroughly to get all of the clinging grit off of the leaves. Alternatively, you may use washed baby spinach if that's what you have on hand.
- 1 bunch/10 ounces spinach
- 3 garlic cloves (medium, coarsely chopped)
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (or fine sea salt, to taste)
- 1 pound linguine (or spaghetti or capellini)
- Garnish: shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
Wash the spinach thoroughly to remove any sand and grit. Remove and discard the stems and then rinse the leaves again. Chop the leaves coarsely. You should have about 4 to 6 cups of packed leaves or about 6 to 8 ounces.
Place about 1 cup of the spinach leaves, the garlic, pine nuts, basil, and a few teaspoons of the olive oil in a food processor container fitted with the metal blade. Cover and pulse until the leaves begin to look crushed. Continue adding spinach to the blender, a handful at a time, along with small amounts of oil. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and push the leaves down.
Add the Parmesan cheese and kosher salt, to taste. Cover and continue to process until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more salt and more Parmesan cheese, if you like. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions; drain in a colander, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Toss the hot drained pasta with about half of the spinach pesto mixture along with a tablespoon or two of the cooking water to moisten. Continue to add more of the pesto with small amounts of water (as needed), a little at a time, until the pasta is well coated. If you have extra pesto sauce, freeze it in a small container for another meal.