Spinach pesto on pappardelle pasta is a tasty way to get some nutritious spinach onto the plate quickly and easily.
Originally published Feb 2014.
I’d never made pesto using spinach 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. That’s 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.
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- About 4 cups baby spinach leaves 1 cup wilted spinach
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- pinch black pepper
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1/2 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 1/2 pound dry pasta, like pappardelle, when cooked; enough for 4 servings.
Store any leftovers in the fridge.