While pasta with basil pesto sauce is pretty much heaven on Earth, pasta with a spinach pesto sauce is a good alternative. Sure, it’s summer, and your basil is growing like a weed, but spinach is available year round so you can make this dish any time. We didn’t have mint, so we substituted it for some cilantro.
With the spinach, artichokes and whole wheat pasta, this is a pretty healthy dinner. I almost think there were not enough artichokes in the dish for one pound of pasta – next time I might try two cans. Leftovers reheated the next day were just as tasty, if not more!
Spinach Artichoke Pasta
- 1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 (15-ounce) can or 1 (10-ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted, drained and quartered
- 1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 small bundle farm fresh spinach, stems trimmed
- Handful fresh mint leaves
- Handful lightly toasted slivered almonds
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a medium, nonstick skillet. Add artichokes and saute until lightly brown around the edges.
- In the bowl of a food processor add the shallot, chicken stock, spinach, mint, almonds, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste. Turn processor on and add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
- Scrape the spinach pesto into the artichoke pan. Bring mixture to a simmer over low to medium-low heat and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add the reserved pasta cooking water, the pasta and the cheese. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce and heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.