Saturday, 23 February 2013

Pasta Please, spinach and walnut pesto and a pasta dish

Last Friday was the sort of day when I felt like just opening a tin of baked beans and collapsing.  Too hot.  Too narky.  Too tired of work.  Fortunately I had been looking at a few pasta ideas for dinner at lunchtime that meant once E took Sylvia off for a nice cool bath, I could get dinner together fairly quickly.  It could have been easier if I didn't make the pesto and roast the capsicum but at least the yoghurt balls were marinated.

I had an idea that I would make spinach and walnut pesto.  I wished for more spinach (like in the original recipe) but had bought a silly little one serve bag.  I should have known we always get through a bigger bag of spinach.   I could have added a bit more oil to my pesto, or even better kept a bit of pasta water to loosen it up once I added the pesto to the pasta.  I had also liked a recipe I had seen for spinach and walnut pesto with mustard in it but forgot about that.

I served the pasta and pesto topped with microwaved broccolini, blistered and skinned red capsicum and my garlic, chilli and rosemary yoghurt cheese.  It would have been better if the pesto was a bit looser but the yoghurt cheese gave it great flavour and melted into the pasta like an additional sauce.

I still was longing for the day to end but at least I was pleased that dinner was slightly more upmarket than a tin of beans.  The  pesto wasn't quite right by itself - I think the seasoning needed adjustment - but was quite nice on a rice cracker with promite and tomato the next morning.  In the evening we had panzanella with the pesto, basil olive oil and tofu bacon.  It was delicious.

I am sending this pasta dish to Lisa of We Don't Eat Anything With a Face who is hosting the Pasta Please challenge this month.  The theme is peppers (or capsicums, as we say in Australia).  The event is coordinated by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: WHB Basil pesto
Two years ago:  Marinated Minestrone
Three years ago: Serendipitous Plum Jam
Four years ago: Frozen Fruity Fun with Icy Poles
Five years ago: HoTM #12 Prune and Bean Casserole

Spinach and Walnut Pesto
Adapted from Krissy's Creations
serves about 4

50g spinach
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2-3 tbsp olive oil (mine was basil infused)
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed
 pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper

Blend to a paste.  Keep leftovers in fridge.

Pasta with pesto, broccolini, red capsicum and yoghurt cheese
serves 2

about 250g packet of spaghetti (I used bavette)
2-4 tbsp spinach and walnut pesto (see above)
1/2 bunch of broccolini, chopped
1/2 red capsicum (red pepper)
4 marinated yoghurt balls

Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions (mine took 8 minutes).  While the pasta is cooking, roast red capsicium over a gas flame and cool slightly.  While capsicum cools, microwave the broccolini until cooked.  Peel the skin off the capsicum and cut into thin strips.

When draining the pasta, keep a little pasta cooking water.  Toss the pasta with pesto and add a slosh of cooking water to loosen the sauce.  Serve in a pasta bowl.  Top with broccolini, capsicum and torn yoghurt balls.

On the Stereo:
Liege and Lief: Fairport Convention

22 comments:

  1. Hi Johanna!

    Oh how I wish we feeling the warmth of the sun here in the states. Enjoy every moment of it while I google over this delicious looking dish you've created.

    Hope all is well with you and yours. Thank you so much for sharing, Louise.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Louise - wish I could send you some sunshine (but is very wet today so not much about)

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  2. I love anything with pesto, but I can understand the desire for more spinach in it--I'm always adding greens to mine, too. I haven't had pesto on pasta for so long (we seem to be stuck on it over pizza these days), but this reminds me how good it is.

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    1. Thanks Ricki - we don't have pasta with pesto that much any more but even less on pizza - I love doing it but others in the house less keen

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  3. Oh dear regarding your day...I hope that today has started off better and the hassles of yesterday have been left behind at least for a while. I am impressed that you managed this when you wanted something as simple as beans, but it certainly looks like you were rewarded with a great dish.

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    1. Thanks Kari - thankfully all my days aren't so bad - we have rain and a cool change today which helps - I too was amazed that I didn't just make beans - I think blogging helps to motivate me sometimes to make something nice and once I start I just keep going - knowing what to make is often half the battle too in getting dinner together

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  4. Gorgeous gorgeous plating Johanna! Still can't believe you pull meals like this out after such long and hot days!

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    1. Thanks Hannah - goodness knows why I am bothered to cook - partly habit and expectations I think - we do like a proper meal in my house!

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  5. I can always throw together pasta even when I don't feel like cooking...this sounds wonderful

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    1. Thanks Joanne - pasta is often my go to meal when I am tired

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  6. Sounds like a really good pesto! I love pasta with pesto sauce, my fave.

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    1. Thanks Natalie - it is a pesto that uses the sorts of things we often have about the kitchen

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  7. Yummo, the entire dish sounds fab, especially with the crunch of the walnuts. Hasn't it been stifling - not even cool at night.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - it was a lovely meal - red papper could have been cooked more if I had more energy but these hot days take it out of you don't they - thank goodness for the cool change today (apart from flooding and traffic chaos)

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  8. [ Smiles ] Thank you for sharing this delicious vegan recipe!

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    1. Thanks Renard - the recipe isn't vegan though you could make it so if you used some nutritional yeast flakes and white miso instead of parmesan cheese and left off the yoghurt cheese or used a vegan goats cheese instead

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  9. I'm just trying to figure out what to make for dinner and this is making my stomach grumble. Must get on and decide. I think you have swayed me towards pasta. Looks good!

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    1. Thanks Jac - looking at food blogs when thinking about dinner makes you wish you could reach in and take a bowlful of food :-) glad to return the flavour with the pasta inspiration - very happy to have a pasta blog even again after the end of PPN

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  10. Fabulous dish Johanna and definitely more upmarket than baked beans! Thanks for linking up :-)

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    1. Thanks Lisa - yes more upmarket! I quite like baked beans but was good to get some greens in my dinner :-)

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  11. Oh I know those days! Sometimes, you just cannot wait for the cool change to come through and the idea of turning on the oven is just dreadful!

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I use my oven so much less in summer because I just can't bear to turn it on so many days - it is cool today so I feel I must use the oven

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