I am no expert when it comes to making pesto or pasta. Though the OH and I heartily love pasta, we have sort of taken to eating it only out of home. This is mainly because I am clueless about how to make a good pasta (except for the simple pasta stir-fry that I make at home) and about how to make different kinds of pesto to go with it. Well, I have decided to change that situation pretty soon. 🙂
I recently thought of making spinach pesto with a twist – with peanuts, instead of with pine nuts or walnuts as it is usually made. I googled it and, sure enough, some bloggers had already tried it out. I went on to make the pesto with my own little twists and turns, and have to say it turned out beautifully. The pasta I made with the pesto, which I served with roasted and salted almonds, was a big, big hit at home.
Here are the recipes for the spinach-peanut pesto and the pasta, as I made them. Let me tell you that I was hugely inspired by this recipe here.
The spinach-peanut pesto
Ingredients (yields about 1 cup):
A fistful of fresh spinach leaves – put in a pan and add water till the spinach is submerged, boil for about 2 minutes, drain out the excess water. Keep aside the drained spinach and reserve some of the water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup peanuts, roasted till crisp – no need to remove the skins
Salt to taste
2-3 teaspoons of amchoor powder, or to taste
2-3 teaspoons of black pepper powder, or to taste (You can even use freshly cracked black pepper)
3 cubes of processed cheese (I used Amul)
- Grind everything to a coarse paste in mixer, using a little of the water you reserved from boiling the spinach.
- Store in an air-tight bottle and use as required. Stored in the refrigerator, the pesto keeps well for at least 4 days.
Using the spinach-peanut pesto to make the pasta
Ingredients (serves 2):
1-1/2 glasses of pasta – cook in boiling water, on low-medium heat, with a bit of salt and olive oil added in, till al dente. Stir intermittently. Keep aside.
Salt to taste
Paprika to taste (or black pepper powder)
Amchoor to taste
About 2 tablespoons of red pepper sauce (I used Weikfield)
2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning (I used Keya)
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 roasted and salted almonds, chopped (I used Rostaa)
- Heat some olive oil and add the finely chopped garlic. Let it stay in for a couple of minutes.
- Now, add the boiled pasta, 3-4 tablespoons of the pesto, more salt and paprika/black pepper powder, amchoor, Italian seasoning, and red pepper sauce. Add a little water if required – you could use the water reserved after boiling the spinach here. Mix well.
- Cook for about two minutes, tossing.
- Serve hot, garnished with the chopped roasted and salted almonds. The crunchiness of the almonds goes amazingly well with the soft pasta. You could decorate the plate with a little grated cheese too, but I skipped that.
You like? I hope you will try this out at home too!