Rotini with Pesto, Tomatoes and Spinach Recipe
My friend's daughter tasted this last year on a vacation and dubbed it the "Best Pasta Ever." I'll go along with her on that! It's a healthy and colorful vegetarian pasta dish that will serve 6 generously, or make heaped platefuls for 4 ravenous diners! I started with the recipe the chef gave her, but it was just a list of ingredients with little information on amounts and exact procedures. Finally after the third go-round and many tweaks, I am pleased with this version. Any ridged or twisted pasta like rotini or fusilli will work here because the ridges hold the pesto well; plain flat or round pasta like spaghetti doesn't work well because the pesto just slides off and pools at the bottom. Use gluten-free or whole wheat pasta if desired.
- 12 ounces rotini or fusilli
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 to 3 ounces fresh basil leaves (no stems), washed and patted dry
- 2 1/2 ounces grated fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese - or a combination of both - reserve a little for garnish if desired
- 2 ounces pine nuts, toasted lightly
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- Cook pasta according to manufacturer directions; drain and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, pour all but 1 tablespoon of the oil into food processor container; add half basil leaves, cheese, nuts and salt. Pulse; add remaining basil leaves and pulse again.
- Stir pesto into cooked drained pasta. Add spinach and toss lightly.
- Heat a medium size skillet with reserved tablespoon of oil; sauté garlic in it for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir gently 30 seconds just to warm but not cook the tomatoes.
- Add garlic-tomato mixture to pasta, folding gently. Serve with reserved cheese for garnish as desired.
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|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Serving Size 166g|
|Recipe makes 6 servings|
|Calories from Fat 240||49%|
|Total Fat 27.43g||34%|
|Saturated Fat 5.07g||20%|
|Trans Fat 0.0g|
|Total Carbs 47.22g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 3.2g||11%|