It’s freezing. Inside and outside, it’s not very pleasant to be alive right now in New York. It’s even colder elsewhere, but as a California girl I never EVER get used to this shit. I miss autumn and I miss spring. I have a cold with a hacking cough and my skin is flaking off no matter how many stupid expensive moisturizers I slather on. I’m sick of eating soup. It’s so salty and is probably contributing to my dried-out skin. Needless to say, I’m not in a very good mood.
I seek solace in the one thing that can make me happy almost without fail: food. Today, it’s pesto! Tangy, garlicy, basily, spring pesto! With pasta and fresh spinach. I usually associate pesto with spring. It’s bright green and fresh tasting and the markets are bursting with big bunches of basil. Thanks to technology and teamsters, we can buy fresh bunches of basil even in the middle of January. Basil that’s been trucked in from god-knows where. It looks like basil and tastes like basil, good enough for me.
So to combat my SAD winter feelings I’m making pesto pasta in order to trick myself into thinking it’s springtime. Adding blanched spinach makes it even more springy. I’ve been reading so many articles about the benefits of going gluten free and even more articles against a gluten-free diet. Reading so much about gluten really got me craving pasta. Everything in moderation.
Pesto Pasta with Spinach
You will need:
2 servings dried linguini pasta (I like Barilla brand)
4 cups packed basil leaves (75% of the leaves from a large bunch of basil or 3 of those small plastic pre-pack cases)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon pine nuts (you can leave these out if you don’t have them)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach (either the bunch with the stems on or the baby leaves sold in a plastic clamshell)
salt and pepper
1. Bring 6-8 cups of salted water to boil in a large sauce pan or pasta pot. You’ll be using the same water for the spinach and pasta. Quickly blanch the spinach in the boiling water for about a minute. Remove with a wooden spoon and set aside.
2. Then add the linguini to the water and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add the basil and olive oil to food processor or blender. Pulse for about 30 seconds until the basil is finely chopped. Add the chopped garlic, cheese, pine nuts, salt and pepper and continue to pulse until you have a fine paste.
4. Add the pesto to the pasta and gently fold in the spinach.