This recipe just screams SPRING to me! With it’s fresh lemon and spinach flavors, it’s one of the things I love to make this time of year. And it couldn’t be more simple. I usually make a big batch of this because I use it for more than just pasta, but over vegetables, as a topping on a salad, a sauce for fish – I can even just eat it off of a spoon or a cracker! Also, even if I am using it for pasta, I use a lot more than I might if it were a regular basil pesto. After all, it’s vegetables!!
Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto
6 oz fresh baby spinach leaves
3/4 c pine nuts (toasted or not)
1 T grated lemon zest – from about 2 small lemons
6 T lemon juice – from those same 2 lemons
1 c (+/-) olive oil
1 c fresh Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 t salt, or to taste
fresh black pepper
The spinach, pine nuts, lemon zest and juice all get whirled together in the food processor to create a rough paste. With this amount, it will take some pulses, and you may want to scrape down the sides to make sure everything gets incorporated.
Once that’s accomplished, the olive oil is incorporated. To be honest, I just add it, and usually with a little less than called for. This gets processed into a smooth sauce, then seasoned with the salt and pepper, and finally, the Parmesan cheese is added.
And that’s it! This makes a lovely green sauce that has a bit more body than other types of pesto. I used mine with pasta initially. This recipe is about right for 1 lb. of pasta, assuming you’d like a pretty good amount of sauce with it.
This will keep for a few days, and any leftover pasta with sauce is delicious – either cold or re-heated. Served with another Spring vegetable favorite, artichokes, it makes a lovely meal.