Fusilli with Spinach and Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto
- SERVINGS: 4
Our tomato pesto packs a wallop of flavor. Use it in this colorful pasta salad or toss it with hot pasta instead. You may also want to try the pesto on top of grilled chicken, lamb, or vegetables; as a sandwich spread; or mixed with cream cheese on a bagel.
- 3/4 cup pine nuts
- 15 drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 5 of them chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 pound fusilli
- 1/4 pound spinach leaves, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 6 ounces)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; remove from the pan. Or toast the pine nuts in a 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
- In a blender or food processor, put 1/4 cup of the pine nuts, the whole sun-dried tomatoes, the oil, water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Puree until smooth.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.
- In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the pasta with the remaining 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the pesto, the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the spinach, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan.
Use chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts.
Add half a cup of roughly chopped pitted black olives to the salad.
There are seven different subzones within the Chianti growing area, among them the famed Classico. The best choice for this pasta, however, would be a Chianti from Rufina, where the wines are crisper, with more vibrant fruitiness.