Spinach Pesto – Giving the Green Light

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It’s almost St. Patty’s Day, so I thought I’d offer up something green. Fresh spaghetti with a pesto that will make you scream and beg for more! But, this is no regular old basil pesto – no, no. It’s time to mix things up and explore the freaky side of us Irish-folk…

Spaghetti with Spinach Pesto and Turkey Meatballs
Serves 4

Tip: Cover leftover spinach pesto with a thin layer of olive oil and tightly cover with plastic wrap – you’ll eat for days. The lusciously sweet dried fruit meatballs work so well, but are optional (to make this dish vegetarian).

1 lb fresh spaghetti
2 c + 2 T fresh baby spinach leaves (divided)
2 -3 garlic cloves
1/4 c toasted walnuts
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c grated manchego cheese
1/8 t salt
fresh ground pepper
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 slices fresh bread (crusts removed & torn into small pieces)
1/4 c onion (finely chopped)
2 large cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 c Marsala wine
2 T diced dried apricots
2 T diced dried cranberries
2 T crumbled feta cheese
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 t salt

1. Boil 4 quarts of water for the spaghetti.
2. Use a knife to roughly chop the garlic and add it to a food processor.
3. Add the walnuts and pulse a few times.
4. Add the spinach and pulse a couple more times.
5. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture comes together.
6. Remove the pesto from the food processor and add the cheese, salt and pepper, stir to combine.

Serve over hot spaghetti (with or without balls of meaty-meat).

Meatballs

1. Preheat the broiler and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, pour the Marsala wine over the diced dried apricots and cranberries, then set aside for 5-10 minutes.
3. In a medium frying pan over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent (approx. 6 minutes).
4. Combine the turkey with all other ingredients, including the apricots, cranberries, wine and the onion mixture in a large work bowl; careful not to overmix.
5. Lightly form the mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on a baking sheet.
6. Put them under the broiler on a middle rack for about 15 minutes. Stay close to the oven while the meatballs are cooking since they can burn quickly.
7. Move the meatballs to a higher rack for a few minutes to brown the tops (flipping once).

FYI – later in the week I’ll be showcasing a real St. Patrick’s Day pasta dish (may grow hair on yer chest). Hint: It screams “hangover cure”.

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Categories: Commingling

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