Spinach pesto on pappardelle pasta is an easy tasty, way to get some nutritious spinach onto the plate.
I’d never made spinach pesto before but with half a large bag desperately in need of being put to good use I decided to give it a try for lunch. The kids in particular loved it and Olivia even had the pasta for lunch again the next day.
I was a little worried about using the spinach completely fresh as you would use basil in pesto, mainly because I wanted to preserve the color, so I blanched it and patted it dry between layers of paper towels. That method worked like a charm and the color was just as bright and inviting in the leftover refrigerated pesto even 2 days later.
This recipe is a great way to get the kids to eat their spinach and makes for a great side dish as well as a delicious lunch.
- About 4 cups baby spinach leaves (1 cup wilted spinach)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- pinch black pepper
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Have a large bowl of ice water standing by. Drop the spinach into boiling water for only about 30 seconds.
- Drain immediately and plunge the spinach into the ice water.
- Drain and lay the spinach out on a few layers of paper towels and pat them dry before adding them to a blender or food processor along with the Parmesan, pepper, pine nuts and garlic.
- I toast the pine nuts in the oven on a cookie sheet for a few minutes but you can toss them in a non stick saute pan for a couple of minutes until they begin to brown a little. Either way, watch them carefully, they can burn quickly.
- Process on medium speed until the spinach and other ingredients begin to form a paste, then reduce the speed to low and begin slowly drizzling in the olive oil. If you want to use the pesto as a dip you can cut back on the amount of olive oil to make it thicker.
- Makes enough pesto to coat about ½ pound dry pasta, like pappardelle, when cooked; enough for 4 servings.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge.