It snowed today. A lot. I would say this is the first real snowfall we’ve had in Saskatoon all winter long and it’s mid-January. We’ve gotten off so lucky this year.
We all knew winter would arrive eventually, and with the snow, colder temperatures are sure to follow. I mean serious -40°C windchill weather.
I am not a fan of winter for the most part. I like how clean the white snow makes everything for a couple hours … but then the novelty wears off and I want flip-flop weather again. Like, now already.
Okay I’ll stop whining about the weather. At least whoever has holidays booked in the next couple weeks to tropical destinations can go away knowing they’ve left behind truly heinous weather. Otherwise, let’s be honest, it’s rather disappointing to know that people back home are enjoying unseasonably warm +9°C weather even as you’re enjoying the tropical humidity. It might not feel as much like you’re getting your money’s worth, right? (Maybe that’s just me.)
I could ramble on about the weather incessantly. I’m serious.
On to the topic at hand. Pasta. Pistachios. Pesto.
I found this recipe from one of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks (I think this one) and I copied it down thinking it would make for a quick easy meal – and I was right, it really is speedy.
I made a few minor alterations to the recipe because I wasn’t about to go out in the snow to buy other ingredients.
Regular basil pesto has that deep dark green color and for some reason I expected to see more green with the pistachio pesto. As you can see from the picture it is very much not green. More like a weird brown. Not entirely appetizing looking if you want me to be honest … but so tasty, trust me.
from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking For Health
- 1 lb. brown rice pasta
- 6 cups fresh baby spinach
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup shallots,chopped (I used red onion)
- 1 cup roasted, unsalted pistachios, shelled (I used salted pistachios)
- 2 cups water, or as needed
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
- In a blender combine olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, and pistachios. Blend to make the pesto.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, or follow these handy instructions here.
- Drain pasta, rinse and return to the pot.
- Add fresh spinach, pistachio pesto and some fresh water a little at a time until the right moisture and consistency. (I ended up using 2 cups of water.)
- Stir to heat through completely.
- Squeeze lemon on top and serve immediately.
The changes I made mostly was that I used brown rice pasta instead of wheat pasta, and I used red onion instead of shallots because I didn’t have any on hand. Also, the original recipe suggests reserving the pasta cooking liquid to use when adding the pesto and spinach later. We all know how starchy the pasta cooking water gets when cooking brown rice pasta, so that’s why I used fresh water – and I strongly suggest you do the same too.
The end result is a creamy pasta sauce, which I honestly didn’t expect. I kind of thought this would be light and fresh like a regular basil pesto. It was still quite light but had a definite creamy texture. A nice surprise. The spritz of lemon at the end is a must as it rounds out the flavors just perfectly.