Nothing beats fresh pesto sauce and pasta for an easy, yet satisfying meal. But, unless you have an indoor herb garden, in the cooler fall and winter months, the 2 cups of fresh basil leaves you need to make enough traditional pesto for a whole family can be hard to come by.
Sure, you can usually find fresh basil leaves in many upscale supermarkets. But 2 cups of it would make a casual family meal rather expensive.
To enjoy fresh pesto sauce all winter long, without breaking your budget, try spinach pesto. A large bag of fresh spinach leaves is only a couple of dollars and will make several batches of Spinach Pesto.
The beauty of pesto is you don’t have to cook it. Just pop a few ingredients into your blender or food processor and – Presto! It’s pesto!
Try this recipe:
2 c. packed fresh spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 c. olive oil (or less)
½ c. pine nuts (lightly toasted – if desired – they don’t have to be toasted)
1/3 to 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
Combine the spinach, garlic, pine nuts, and enough olive oil in a blender or food processor to make a smooth paste.
Add the cheese and balsamic vinegar. Stir to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When ready to serve with pasta, save a little of the water used to boil the pasta and mix it with the pesto sauce to thin it a little so it will be easier to mix throughout the pasta.
Serve your spinach pesto and pasta with a green salad, crusty bread, and a glass of your favorite wine for a casual, yet elegant, satisfying meal.
Note: This pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or so in a tightly covered container.