Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spinach Pesto Penne Pasta

Pasta needs no introduction to the foodies and it has permeated into our daily eating habits.

Traditionally associated with Italy as its staple food in their cuisine., where the consumption of pasta is so much  higher than the production of wheat. that Italy imports wheat for pasta . Such is the deep love and devotion  with pasta by Italians.Now no longer considered a staple food  of  only Italians as it is now a globally preferred food and appears in various forms for lunch and dinner.  Typically pasta is made from unleavened dough of durum wheat flour mixed with water and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked and served in a variety of dishes.. Common forms of pasta include long shapes, short shapes, tubes, flat shapes and sheets, miniature soup shapes, filled or stuffed.

Pasta is generally a simple dish, but comes in large varieties because it is a versatile food .  Pasta sauces vary in taste, colour and texture.  Simple sauces like pesto are ideal for long and thin strands of pasta while tomato sauce combines well with thicker pastas. 

Here am sharing a recipe for Whole grain  spinach pesto  penne pasta tossed with a bright and refreshing flavored  creamy sauce  with  fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese.

This Spinach Pesto Penne is loaded with delicious Spring time vegetables that are guaranteed to satisfy even the fussiest kid and adult!


4 cups penne pasta
finely chopped baby carrots   2
1 big onion thinly sliced
5 garlic pods sliced fine
1 1/2 tsp Mixed Italian dried herbs
1 tsp dry red chilli flakes
2 tsp chopped parsley to garnish
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp grated Parmesan  
salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

For the sauce

2 tbsp all purpose flour to thicken the sauce
3 tbsp butter or olive oil
250 ml hot milk
pinch of white pepper
1 or 2  cheese slices, sprinkle of mixed dried herbs.

Spinach pesto Ingredients

1 small bunch of baby spinach
1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic pod
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste.


To cook pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, al dente ,  stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Drain and wash with cold water to remove stickiness. Keep aside.


Puree the spinach, walnuts/pine nuts , Parmesan cheese, basil leaves olive oil, salt, pepper ,  lemon juice,garlic pods in the food processor.

For the Creamy sauce:

Heat  olive oil in a pan on medium flame and add flour and whisk until a smooth paste is formed.  Add  hot milk into this paste and drop the cheese slice, whisk till creamy. Add salt, pepper.

Preparation of pasta:           

Heat olive oil in a wide bottomed pan . Add the  sliced garlic and fry  until slight brown and crisp and fry the thinly sliced onions  until they are pink and translucent . Now add chopped carrot and cook until tender.Add the spinach pesto sauce, creamy  sauce and mix well. Add cooked pasta and mix well until all the pasta is covered with the sauce . Sprinkle  red chili flakes,Italian herbs,salt and pepper and toss well. Cut some fresh  spinach leaves into ribbons and put in the bottom of a large serving bowl.

Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat.  Garnish with chopped parsley . Enjoy while it is hot!