Thursday, 12 May 2011

Pasta with Spring Spinach Pesto

Okay, here I am. I haven't just been sulking, I've been crazy busy.

As soon as I stopped posting, the weather improved and we've been in the garden almost non-stop ever since. We are still way, way behind where we would like to be. I'll post about that a bit later.

Meanwhile, this is something I've been playing around with this spring. As you see, it's pretty flexible. Almost all the measurements are fairly approximate, and you should emphasize whatever elements you like. In particular, the cheese you use will make a difference. I've mostly been using some nice creamy chevre, but any soft cheese should do. The spinach gives it more body than a regular pesto, so it can go on thicker too. Some sliced asparagus added to the pasta at the end of the cooking would go well.

I would have liked to use some wild leeks (ramps) in this, but I haven't seen any around here this spring. I haz a sad; the world is plainly going to hell in a handbasket. I know, I know; shut up already, and eat.

4 servings
20 minutes prep time

450 to 500 grams (1 pound) dry pasta

6 to 8 cups spinach
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped onion greens
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sunflower, pumpkin or nut seeds
1 to 2 tablespoons rubbed basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
salt as required - depends on the cheese!
150 to 200 grams soft creamy cheese
1/4 to 1/3 cup light cream or chicken broth

a little grated Parmesan to serve over the top

Put a large pot of salted water on to cook for the pasta.

Wash and pick over the spinach, and rinse it again. Drain well, and chop coarsely.

Wash and trim the onion greens. You can use onion tops, wild leeks, garlic tops, leeks, chives; whatever greeny oniony stuff you can get your hands on. Again, chop them coarsely.

Heat the butter in a large skillet, and cook the onions until soft. Add the well-drained spinach and cook it down. Meanwhile, put the basil and cheese into the bowl of a food processor. When the spinach is soft and completely wilted, add the spinach and onions to the food processor, and whizz until well chopped. Add the cheese, and process again. Add the cream or broth, to make a loose, flowing but not liquidy sauce. Taste, and adjust the salt.

Toss the cooked, drained pasta with the sauce. If you are cooking capellini, it should not go into the boiling water to cook until the sauce is ready. If you are cooking regular pasta, done in the 9 to 11 minute range, the pasta should go in to cook as soon as the onions go into the pan with the butter.

Last year at this time I made Pizza with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Fiddleheads & Ramps, and Fried Onion Rings.

1 comment:

Sue @ FiveCourseGarden said...

I'm so happy to find your wonderful blog! There is a move to Nova Scotia in my future, and I'm more than a little worried about how I'll survive the winter. In Wellington NZ, we eat out of the garden year-round. Information like you have here will be a big help!