Pesto di spinaci e nocciole

(serves 4 | 20 minutes | easy)

Bright green pesto pastas are synonymous with summer — but they don’t have to be! Spinach is a wonderful seasonal substitute to basil, and when mixed with a little garlic and a handful of hazelnuts creates a delicate pesto with which one can season pasta, use as a crostini topping or even mix into a frittata!

1 cup of cooked spinach leaves (sautéed with a little olive oil and 1 garlic clove until tender) – 1 handful of hazelnuts – 1 garlic clove (use the cooked one from the spinach for a lighter pesto) – extra virgin olive oil – 320g spaghetti – 1 handful of grated parmigiano + extra to top the dish – lemon zest (optional) – salt and pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and the pasta and cook according to packet instructions.
  2. In the meantime, toast the hazelnuts in a pan over high heat for a few minutes (skip this step if you’re using already toasted hazelnuts), then place them in a tall blender glass. Pour enough extra virgin olive oil to cover them, add the garlic clove and blend to create a thick, smooth paste. Add the spinach and blend again, adding more olive oil if necessary. You shouldn’t need more because the spinach itself contains a lot of water. Add the parmigiano and blend until smooth. 
  3. When the pasta is almost al dente, pour the spinach pesto into a pan over high heat, add a ladle of the pasta’s cooking water and then the drained pasta. Add more water if necessary and finish cooking the pasta with the sauce, allowing the two to combine wonderfully. 
  4. When the pasta is al dente and the water has evaporated, leaving a wonderfully thick sauce, plate the pasta. Add a shaving of parmigiano and a sprinkle of lemon zest and serve.