Quicky Supper: Spinach Pesto Parmesan Pasta
Some nights you need something quick, easy, and that even picky eaters will eat. Spinach Pesto Parmesan Pasta is it. You can have it ready in only a few minutes after your noodles boil--about the time you need to brown some chicken sausages to go with the pasta, if you'd like. I use whatever pasta I have on hand, in this case it was radiatori, which is good for catching the pesto sauce. Homemade pesto sauce is great, but, if you don't have any, no problem. Use the commercial stuff (like the refrigerated stuff from Costco or Sam's). It'll work. I toss in spinach because I like the taste, and it complements the pesto nicely. The spinach also adds to the nutritional value of the meal and is, admittedly, a sneaky way to ensure that family members who are vegetable averse get their daily allotment. I've also added cherry or grape tomatoes to the pasta, which further boosts the vegetable content and has engendered no complaints. In fact, my vegetable averse eater has happily chowed down on the pasta and gone back for more. The dish is simple, quite good, and, if you have any left, makes a great take-to-work lunch. And yes, you can sprinkle the top with toasted pine nuts, Italian-style, if you'd like. I don't bother because the pine nuts are awfully expensive (for the Italian ones, don't get the ones from China that can cause allergic reactions). Walnuts make a good substitute for the pine nuts, if you want something crunchy on top of the pasta.
Spinach Pesto Parmesan Pasta -- Serves 4
8 ounces of pasta, preferably the swirly type like rotini, fusilli, or radiatore
1/2 cup of pesto sauce, homemade or commercial
4-6 handfuls of washed spinach (5-6 ounces)
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta until barely done and then drain all but about 1 cup of water from the pan. Stir in the pesto sauce and then add the spinach, a little at a time until it's incorporated in the pasta. Stir in half the Parmesan, cover the pot, and let it sit until the spinach is wilted (if it hasn't already). Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top of the pasta before serving it.