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Pasta with Cannellini-Spinach Pesto

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This lean, protein-rich pesto is packed with spinach and thickened with white beans. If you don't have orecchiette, serve the pesto with ziti or penne.

Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips

  1. 1/2 pound fresh spinach, large stems discarded and leaves rinsed
  2. 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and any liquid reserved
  3. 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 medium scallion
  5. 3/4 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  7. 1 tablespoon extra-vigin olive oil
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. 3/4 pound orecchiette
  10. 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  11. 2 tomatoes, chopped
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet; add the spinach with the water that clings to the leaves and cook over high heat, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Put the spinach in a colander and press out the excess liquid. Chop the spinach and transfer it to a food processor. Add 1 1/4 cups of the beans, the garlic, scallion, basil, lemon juice, olive, a pinch each of salt and pepper and a few tablespoons of the reserved bean liquid or water. Puree the mixture until smooth.
  2. Add the orecchiette to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain, leaving enough water to keep the pasta moist, and transfer it to 4 bowls. Top with the pesto, feta, tomatoes and the reserved 1/4 cup of beans. Grind fresh pepper over the pasta and serve.
Notes One Serving Calories 512 kcal, Protein 20 gm, Carbohydrate 85 gm, Cholesterol 19 mg, Total Fat 10.3 gm, Saturated Fat 3.9 gm.

Suggested Pairing

This dish has enough richness to work with a bright, up-front red, such as Guigal Côtes du Rhône from France or Cline Côtes d'Oakley Rouge from California.

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