Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Whole Wheat Penne with Spinach Pesto and Chickpeas

This past weekend when I took a pair of garden shears to my spinach patch I thought, why did I plant this - I don't really like spinach. I prefer chard and beet greens and kale, all of which are exploding in the garden and I can't think of how to eat them all before they bolt. Then a friend suggested spinach pesto, which she makes exactly like basil pesto. Spinach pesto, even if it turned out as boring as I think spinach often is, would be garlicky and lemony and freshy. A pasta dinner started coming together in my mind. We were thinking we'd grill some chicken to add a little protein, but our budget for meat was busted (we're trying to only eat animal products from local, organic, ethical farms, but since we're on a serious budget around here that means we can't afford to eat as many as we used to). Inspired by my favorite ceci bruschetta topping, I added the chickpeas instead. It's a winner - fast, cheap, healthy, and super-flavorful.

Whole Wheat Penne with Spinach Pesto and Chickpeas
serves 3 to 4

For the Pesto:
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 cups (loosely packed) spinach, washed and dried well
1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan, grated

For the pasta:
1 pound whole wheat penne, or other short pasta
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15oz can of chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans)
1 sprig rosemary (optional)
extra parmesan for garnish

  • While the water for the pasta is heating, make the pesto (or substitute store-bought basil pesto) by first grinding the garlic with a little salt and pepper in a food processor. Then add the spinach and lemon and grind again. Add the cheese and drizzle in the oil a little at a time until it is the consistency you like.
  • In a small frying pan on medium heat, saute one garlic clove in a little olive oil until it just starts to brown.
  • Add the (drained) chickpeas and the rosemary sprig. Cook, stirring only a few times, until the chickpeas have browned a bit - about 10 minutes.
  • Toss the pasta with the pesto, chickpeas, and salt and pepper. Garnish with more parm. It's great warm or cold.
Related Posts with Thumbnails