I think I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy getting an organic vegetable box every week. This week we got a bag of lovely leafy spinach, and I ummed and aahed for ages trying to decide what to make with it. In the end, having a basil plant sitting on the windowsill encouraging me to use it made me plump for this simple and delicious pesto.
Once those two ingredients were decided, it was a case of raiding the fridge and cupboards for the rest. The artichoke hearts have been lurking in the fridge for a week or so, since half of them adorned the top of a pizza. The ground almonds, somewhat inevitably, are leftover from Pesach.
We love garlic in this house, so I put a couple of cloves in and it was mega-garlicky, but you might prefer less. You can adjust according to taste 🙂
I blanched the spinach and basil leaves before whizzing them up, as this denatures the enzymes in them, and helps them to retain their bright green colour. You don’t have to do this step, but if you skip it the pesto will gradually turn a murkier colour. I saved the water from blanching the spinach and basil leaves and used it to cook the spaghetti. I suspect this made no difference whatsoever to the flavour of the pasta…
I didn’t put any cheese into the pesto, so it’s completely vegan. However, we did grate some parmesan over the top before we ate it, and it was seriously tasty. If you’re not vegan, I recommend this addition. And a few grinds of black pepper too.
This made enough pesto for 3-4 people. Depends how generous you are with your servings. I reckon I could have eaten half of it myself, given a chance. Yum.
- 150g spinach leaves
- 25g basil leaves
- 50g ground almonds
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 75g artichoke hearts in oil, drained, + 3-4 tbsp of the oil
- 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
- Cooked pasta, to serve
- Parmesan cheese and black pepper (optional) - to serve
- Put the spinach and basil leaves in a colander and pour boiling water over to blanch - the leaves will wilt down quite quickly. Press any excess water out and transfer the leaves to the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process to a smooth paste.
- Serve with pasta, and sprinkle with grated parmesan and pepper, as desired.
And as if that wasn’t enough, I’m submitting it to Pasta Please, hosted by Franglais Kitchen and organised by Tinned Tomatoes.