Pasta with Cannellini-Spinach Pesto
- SERVINGS: 4
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
- 1/2 pound fresh spinach, large stems discarded and leaves rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and any liquid reserved
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium scallion
- 3/4 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-vigin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 pound orecchiette
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 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.
- 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.
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.