Dinner

Presto! Spinach Pesto

It’s finally summer again. The weather has turned hot and the days are long. This year so far has not been as dry as last year. We are getting a good amount of rain and my balcony garden is flourishing. Each year, the early summer mean fresh vegetables will be coming from my farm share again. Unfortunately, the drought last year devastated the farm I was getting my farm share from and they have not renewed the farm share program this summer. I am trying out a new farm this year and I am excited to see what I get. So far the haul has been great and there have been lots of leafy vegetables and few strawberries in the first couple weeks.

Tender leafy greens are the first vegetables to start producing in the early summer, so much so that it can be overwhelming. In this case I go back to my old standby, pesto. Pesto is great because it uses so much of the leafy greens and is full of flavor. It can be used immediately or stored for later in the refrigerator or freezer. This week I am using the giant bag of spinach I received to make a delicious spinach pesto. The spinach greens are great in this fresh and savory pesto. Try it as a topping for a variety of simple to make dishes such as grilled cheese sandwiches or pasta.

Spinach Pesto | thechillychili.com

Spinach Pesto | thechillychili.com

Spinach Pesto | thechillychili.com

 

Spinach Pesto

Makes 1 1/2 cups of pesto

  • 3 oz walnuts
  • 6 oz (about 7 cup lightly packed) spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts stirring or tossing often until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Triple wash the spinach and dry in a salad spinner or colander. In a blender or food processor, add the walnuts and garlic. Pulse a few times to roughly chop. Add the spinach, salt and pepper, stir, and pulse again to chop. Starting with a small amount of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon, to the spinach mix. Stir and pulse again. Continue adding the oil, stirring, pulsing, and occasionally scraping down the sides until all the oil has been added and the pesto is the consistency of a paste. Be careful not to overheat the motor and cause the spinach to start cooking. Add the Parmesan cheese and blend together again until the cheese has been finely chopped. Use the pesto immediately, refrigerate, or freeze. The pesto will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or 2-3 months in the freezer.

 


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