This is, hands down, my favorite recipe that I’ve come up with over the last year. I’m really excited to share it, finally!
I have never been a huge pesto fan. I like basil – but only as a hint of fresh herby goodness in a dish. I don’t like that pesto is like eating a spoonful of basil. The mildness of the spinach in this recipe allows the garlic, nuts, and cheese to take center stage – right where they should be.
The other great thing about this recipe is that it scales up or down very nicely. As I was developing this recipe I tried out different quantities and they all work. I prefer this version, or reducing by half to make 4 servings, but it’s all good.
Domestocrat’s Spinach Pesto (yields 2 cups/8 servings)
5 oz. container of spinach
1 cup nuts (I use walnuts but pine nuts, cashews, or almonds would work too)
1 cup parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. EVOO
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
Salt & pepper to taste
Start by smashing three cloves of garlic with the flat side of a big knife. No need to chop or mince here; the garlic is going to get thrown in the food pro so it can stay semi-whole. Feel free to use more/less garlic depending on your preferences. This amount gives a mild garlic flavor to the dish without being overpowering (I am not a huge garlic fan but John is; this quantity gives us a happy medium).
Over low heat, add the garlic and EVOO to a small pan. Cook together until the garlic has just started to brown. This took about 5 minutes for me but don’t take your eyes off of it! It burns so fast. Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
In a food processor, add the spinach, nuts, cheese, and spices. Start with two cloves of garlic and one tbsp. of the garlic oil. Whiz up in the food pro and check the consistency. Add more of the garlic oil until you have a smooth texture. I do this little by little because I don’t like my pesto too oily and once you add too much, you can’t take it back.
When the consistency is right, taste for seasoning. Go ahead and add the last clove of garlic if you want more, and whiz away in the food pro. Adjust the salt, pepper, and red pepper flake to your preferences.
That’s it! Pesto is done!
This pesto is creamy, earthy, nutty, and savory. It pairs perfectly with pasta – obviously – but is also great on chicken, zoodles, crusty bread, whatever. This pesto will keep in an airtight container for 1-2 days.