Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring spinach pesto with almonds

I'm certain I can make this better, but for a first pass this is pretty delicious. I used a huge bag of fresh-picked spinach from the farmer's market.

1 large bag fresh spinach 
2 cloves garlic
1 cup lowfat cottage cheese (such as Light 'N Lively)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, divided
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 14-oz package whole wheat spaghetti
fresh-grated Parmesean

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; I used a pasta pot with colander insert.

Soak spinach in cool water to release sandy grit; swish, drain and repeat until water is clear. Trim and whirl in batches in salad spinner, then dump entire batch into boiling water. Simmer 2-3 minutes until limp but not defeated and still bright green. While cooking, add several cups of ice to spinner bowl, then insert strainer and fill about halfway with water. Remove colander insert from pasta pot and transfer drained spinach to ice bowl.

Return colander to pot. Bring water back to a boil and add pasta, cooking according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, drop garlic into food processor workbowl and pulse-chop. Add cottage cheese, salt and well-drained spinach, pulse-chop again. Add all but 2 tbsp sliced almonds and about 1/2 cup water; blend until creamy.

Drain al dente pasta, reserving 1-2 cups pasta water, then return to warm pot over low flame. Slosh in a good glob of reserved pasta water and spinach pesto, stirring well. Add more reserved water if needed. (If not, save to any leftover to keep reheats moist.)

Transfer to serving bowl and top with reserved sliced almonds and parmesean.

Note:  The truly thoughtful hostess also will provide floss.

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