August  2, 2020
0 Ratings
Photo by Nicole Matheson
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Super easy, super delicious anytime dinner. Spinach pesto is the perfect way to “hide” your vegetables from yourself, the kids or that picky house guest. Naturally vegetarian, but you can easily add grilled chicken or Italian sausage into the mix. —Nicole Matheson

What You'll Need
  • Spinach Basil Pesto
  • 2 cups packed Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1 cup packed Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • 1 cup toasted Pine Nuts
  • 6 cloves of Garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese – shredded
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Zest of a Lemon
  • Stove-Top Brown Butter Spinach Pesto Pasta
  • 1/2 cup Butter (1 stick) at room temp.
  • all of the Spinach Basil Pesto (recipe above)
  • 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 cups Reserved Pasta Water
  • 1 pound Penne Pasta cooked al dente
  • 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (balls or pulled apart)
  • 1 drizzle of olive oil
  1. Spinach Basil Pesto
  2. Toast the pine nuts, reheat your oven to 400F. On a cookie sheet (parchment paper optional) sprinkle your pine nuts out in a single layer. Toast in the oven until they start to smell fragrant and color is added. This will take 3-7 minutes. Stay nearby, keep the oven light on because it will happen quickly once it starts (just like microwavable popcorn, once it starts it the pop quickly picks up and then you a split second to stop the microwave before it all burns). Set them aside to cool down.
  3. In a food processor or blender, add your basil, the toasted pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese and salt into a food processor. You can start with ½ the garlic and ½ the salt to start, you can always add more as we go for your taste.
  4. Pulse the food processor, as you pulse, pour in the olive oil. Continue to process until all ingredients are incorporated. Taste test! Add in more garlic if you would like. It it's too strong or bitter (from the olive oil) add in a pinch or two of salt and pulse a few times to make sure it's mixed in. Salt will soften the intensity of the flavors.
  1. Stove-Top Brown Butter Spinach Pesto Pasta
  2. In boiling salted water cook your penne pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Scoop up 2 cups of pasta water and set aside. Drain your pasta.
  3. In a pan, over medium heat, melt the stick of butter. Once the butter is melted, turn up the heat slightly and start to brown your butter.
  4. You will want to get your butter a medium-dark brown, it takes about 3 minutes. Once your butter is brown, turn the heat back down to medium.
  5. Add in all of the spinach basil pesto. Cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring to combine.
  6. Add in your cherry tomatoes. Cook until they become soft and start to pop. This will take about 6-7 minutes.
  7. Add in your al dente penne pasta and reserved pasta water. Stir to combine. Cook for about another 2 minutes to finish cooking the pasta allowing your sauce to thicken up a little and by now, you will be able to break the tomatoes apart with a wooden spoon.
  8. Remove from the heat. Add in the fresh mozzarella cheese throughout.
  9. Top with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

0 Reviews