fake pesto...

I was hunting around my kitchen for ingredients to make a new sauce for the gnocchi that Tortellino has been happily devouring (they're easy to get on the fork for a 19-month-old). I was tiered of making goat-milk, olive-oil based bechamel with prosciutto and peas (it's a bit of work) and I didn't want him to overdose on tomato sauce (with hidden veggies.. heheh), so what to do?

It's the middle of winter and basil is pretty darn expensive and difficult to find. In the back of my freezer I found a box of frozen pureed spinach.

Hmm... things came together pretty quickly. At first Tortellino objected to the green sauce but after he tasted it he said, "mmm hmmm goood!" He was right, when he was done eating I made some fake spinach pesto for myself. It's quick, easy and delicious so you can't go wrong throwing this together on a busy weeknight.

Here's the recipe for a whole pack (16oz or 500g) of spaghetti or dehydrated gnocchi...

fake spinach pesto
It won't taste like the Genovese Basil pesto - but it's green, it's cheaper than buying basil in the winter, it's delicious and it's good for you!

1 cup of pureed spinach
3 tbsp. of Olive Oil
4 lg. cloves of garlic - pressed
1/4 cup of whole or chopped pine nuts
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese
(optional) juice from 1/4 of a lemon

In a large saute' pan, add the olive oil and put on a medium flame. Then, add the
spinach (frozen if you like), add the salt and pepper and when all is well mixed, press the garlic and sprinkle on the pine nuts. When the pasta is finished cooking, strain it and put it directly in the sautee pan with the spinach. Stir to coat the pasta and, if you like you can add the squirt of lemon and a squirt of fresh olive oil. Top with grated cheese and serve!

A word of caution. I found this dish quite "energizing". That is, I made it late at night and I couldn't sleep! According to Symbio's Food Effects Index, garlic is "rich source of iodine, which is necessary to produce thyroid hormone, which regulates the body's energy level;" and, it was regulating my energy alrgiht! So if you're a late eater, save this pasta sauce for an energizing lunch.

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