This Spinach Pesto Pasta with Mushrooms can be made from start to finish in 30 minutes and it totally hits the spot on a busy weeknight.
Sooooo…how do you guys feel about green pasta?
Have I gone too far? Am I losing you? If I were you, I might be losing me on this one.
Let’s face it, green pasta doesn’t have quite the same allure as Alfredo. If Alfredo is the head cheerleader, spinach pesto is the girl who sings in musicals and heads up the Spanish club (<<<<I was that girl.) It’s not winning any beauty contests, and it certainly won’t be the first one picked in gym class. But if you give this sauce a chance, it will totally win you over. I promise.
I guess this is my really long and confusing way of saying you can’t judge a sauce by its color. This spinach pesto is surprisingly delicious–it’s thick and creamy with hints of Parmesan and garlic and a good squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it up. It’s super easy to make (how does dump it in the blender and hit puree sound?) and can be used as a dip for vegetables, a spread for sandwiches, or, in this case, a lovely pasta sauce.
This pasta dish can be made from start to finish in 30 minutes and it totally hits the spot on a busy weeknight. It’s creamy and comforting, but you won’t feel the need to immediately hibernate after eating it. You can control the thickness of the sauce by adding more or less olive oil to your liking. Side note: STAR Fine Foods graciously sent me some of their olive oils for tasting and I have been going gangbusters with their Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Vegetables. It’s fresh and light with enough flavor to compliment, but not overpower your vegetables. Seriously good stuff.
I sauteed some mushrooms and fresh tomatoes to add to the pasta then topped it all off with a few more shavings of fresh Parmesan, which is optional, unless you’re in my house…then it’s required. Also, can we talk about cavatappi pasta for a sec? This stuff is rocking my face off. It’s totally the cheerleader of the pasta world. You can use rotini or penne instead, but I seriously recommend the twirly cavatappi.
Give green a try. It might just surprise you.
For the pesto:
- 4 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup curly parsley
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup Marcona almonds (or other salted nut of your choice)
- Juice of 2 small lemons
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
For the pasta:
- 8 ounces cavatappi, rotini, or penne
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For the pesto:
- Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender. Start with about 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and puree. Continue to add more olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Taste. Add salt if desired. Note: This stuff thickens quite a bit when refrigerated, so if you make it ahead of time you'll likely need to add some oil to thin it a bit.
For the pasta:
- Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until golden on both sides, about 6-8 minutes. In the last minute, add the cherry tomatoes to warm them.
- When the pasta is done and drained, return to the pot and toss with mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach pesto. Serve with fresh shaved Parmesan flakes and additional salt and pepper, if desired.
Recipe by Neighborfood