Spinach and Basil Pesto Recipe
August, 2015 · By Coryanne Ettiene
Lately we’ve been binge watching The Borgias on Netflix and have reconnected with those simple rustic Italian recipes that we used to devour on those summer days spent in Italy all those years ago. When you open our fridge, you would think that the only thing we are eating are tomatoes, peppers, summer squash and field greens….and you would not be far off. In the last few weeks I think we have had Spinach and Basil Pesto more times that I can count on my hand: Baked pesto chicken, cold pesto pasta salad, pesto on toast, pesto flatbreads, pesto grilled tomatoes…. you get the point.
Pesto, as we know it, caught on in popularity in 16th Century northern Italy and originates from the Genoese word pestâ, that translates to “to crush or to pound”. Contrary to the simple method of making Pesto, in 16th century Italy very few had the talent to crush herbs and deliver a fragrant sweet sauce rather than a bitter spoonful that often comes from crushing or pounding delicate herb leaves. Fast forward to today, anyone can make fabulous tasting pesto. When I’m feeling rather hands on and flush with time, I’ll use a sharp knife and chop the ingredients by hand for a rustic, hand made flavor to Pesto. But, if I’m honest, I almost always use a food processor, because frankly, who can argue with a mouthwatering Pesto that you can have in 3 minutes or less?
What I love about this recipe for Spinach and Basil Pesto is that if you are not a lover of that bold green taste that you get from spinach, never fear…. it is there, but only slightly. Packing all the nutrition of spinach but with less bold green taste — and in our house, dare I say it, the children are not yet ready to embrace the oh so fabulous spinach leaf so this allows me to slowly get them used to the flavor one bite at a time.
Make loads of pesto, double the recipe if your processor has the room and freeze pesto into ice cubes for quick flavor bursts to everything from soup stalks to (gasp) store bought tomato sauce. If spinach is not your favorite, skip it, and double the basil. Or go a little wild and try new ingredients like sun dried tomatoes, grilled peppers or artichokes but subbing out the spinach for one of these great tasting alternatives. Oh and… tired of pine nuts, go bold with almonds, walnuts or peanuts. Don’t be shy, be bold and have fun with your food. Happy Cooking!
Spinach and Basil Pesto Ingredients
- 1 Cup of washed spinach leaves
- 1 Cup of washed basil, stalks and all
- 3 Tablespoons of roasted pine nuts
- 1/4 Cup of Parmesan cheese, chopped into small cubes
- 1/3 Cup of extra virgin olive oil, more if you like it runny
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Add the spinach, basil and oil to a food processor and blitz until smooth before adding the Parmesan cheese and pin nuts. Blend until all the ingredients are smooth, adding more oil to match your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.