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
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and the pasta and cook according to packet instructions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.