homemade pesto has become a summer staple, perfect for use in pesto pasta for meatless monday! this is my favorite pesto recipe due to the fact that it contains spinach in addition to basil, and cheese which helps it meld perfectly over the pasta when warmed. i also love that you don't need to cook any of the pesto ingredients, just throw them in the food processor, blend, and you're good to go.
fresh pesto can be used on pasta, in place of sauce on pizza, brushed onto chicken, shrimp or steak prior to grilling (or you can stuff chicken or pork with it!), on bread, or even as a marinade. the really herby, fresh-from-the-garden taste makes me love pesto the most for spring and summer dishes.
2 cloves smashed garlic
15-20 basil leaves
1 cup spinach leaves
2/3 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup parmigiano regiano cheese
for pesto pasta
grape tomatoes, halved
| method |
to prepare pesto: add basil, garlic, spinach, feta and parm cheese to a food processor and blend. slowly add the evoo until desired consistency is reached. use immediately or scoop into a small mason jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week. i realize this recipe omits pine nuts, which is a traditional ingredient. i was out of them one time and found i didn't miss them, so now i don't even bother. but just know that i know, they aren't in there and "should" be.
for the pasta:
prepare the orecchiette according to package directions, and drain. meanwhile, add evoo to a large pan and saute the sliced tomatoes over medium heat for a couple minutes. turn heat to medium-low and add the homemade pesto to the pan along with the drained pasta. stir until pesto is fully melted (all the cheese in there does really well when poured over hot pasta, gets all melty and yummy) and combined with pasta. remove from heat and serve warm dusted with additional parmesan, alongside a fresh baguette.