Using a package of baby spinach from the grocery store and some frozen meatballs from the local butcher shop, this recipe came together in under 30 minutes. The spinach pesto is quite different than the summer basil pesto I’m used to, but it’s still very yummy and makes lots of extras for a later pasta meal.
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp lightly packed spinach leaves, stems removed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Spaghetti & Meatballs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb fresh or thawed meatballs
1 tbsp coarse salt
1. Place nuts in a single layer in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat; toast for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Cool.
2. Whirl nuts with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender until puréed. With blender running, push spinach gradually through feed hole in blender top. Stop and scrape down sides as needed. When all spinach has been puréed, add cheese; pulse a few times to mix. (If making ahead, scrape into a container, preferably glass, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Tightly covered, pesto keeps well for several days, darkening slightly.)
3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and cook meatballs till they’re nice and crispy on the outside and cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and add coarse salt. Cook pasta until al dente. Save some of the pasta water when draining.
5. Turn spaghetti into a large pasta bowl. Add half the pesto and gently toss till combined. Add more pesto and splashes of cooking water as needed for saucy texture. All the pesto may not be needed.
6. Serve in pasta bowls, topped with meatballs and additional grated cheese and chopped nuts. Pass a shaker of hot red chili flakes. Serve with Italian bread. Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Food & Drink, Holiday 2012