Even as a food blogger there are still times when I have absolutely no desire or ambition to make dinner. The fact is though, I have even less desire to eat take-out. For some reason those days seem to fall when I haven’t been to the grocery store and our refrigerator. What’s a girl gotta do to get a bowl of comfort food? Well, thankfully I froze a batch of Basil Spinach Pesto last week and even though the veggies in the frig were looking a little long in the tooth (where do these sayings come from?!) they were perfect cozied up to the Basil Spinach Pesto – so delicious and it practically screams with flavor. Pesto Pasta is born. 20 Minute Pesto Pasta. Comfort food in 20 minutes on a weeknight – when the frig was practically empty? Things are looking up.
If you take nothing else away from this post, take this: Basil Spinach is the answer to any food emergency. Appetizer or main dish, it has rescued me more than once.
The beauty of sauteing veggies to a pasta dish likes Pesto Pasta is that they don’t have to be in prime condition. And don’t be afraid to mix and match.
I’m sharing without shame what was left in my refrigerator and pantry at the end of the week. Swap out what’s left at your house.
- 10 grape tomatoes
- 2 large handfuls of spinach
- Half of a somewhat wrinkly orange bell pepper;
- 1/4 of a medium red onion;
- 1 clove of garlic;
- Basil and Spinach Pesto (freezer)
- Small hunk of parmesan cheese
- half a box of penne pasta (about 6 ounces)
This dish is so simple to put together it almost doesn’t need a recipe.
Cook the pasta according to package directions then drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to a skillet. Add the spinach, onions, peppers, garlic and season with salt and pepper. When they’re beginning to soften, add the halved tomatoes and continue cooking another couple of minutes.
Blend In about 1/3 cup of pesto and and 3-4 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water then fold in the pasta.
Grate the Parmesan cheese over the top and dig in! This low-budget, simple meal looks and tastes so elevated you could easily entertain with.
One of my favorite ways to create a recipe is from ingredients I already have on hand – especially when they come together like this one. It’s like finding money in an old coat pocket.
- •10 grape tomatoes, halved;
- •2 large handfuls of spinach, rough chopped;
- •Basil - several leaves;
- •1- bell pepper;
- •Red onion about 1/4 cup;
- •Garlic, 1 clove, minced;
- •1/4 cup of Pesto, homemade or store bought (or more if you like);
- •Parmesan cheese (as much as you like);
- •1 pound of Pasta - any kind and about 1/4 cup of its cooking water (you won't need all of the water).
- Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving about 1/4 cup of its cooking water.
- Heat sauté pan and add a drizzle of olive oil.
- Drop in onion, bell pepper and garlic, cooking for just a minute or two. Add spinach, cooking over low-medium heat until spinach is wilted.
- Add grape tomatoes and a bit of salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
- Move the veggies to the sides of the pan and empty the pesto container into the pan.
- Add pasta water - a couple of tablespoons at a time to the desired consistency.
- Gently fold in the pasta, stirring until coated with pesto.
- Grate or shave Parmesan cheese on top.
- These are the veggies and cheese I used because it was what I had on hand that day. Mix it up with your own -- zucchini, squash, Asiago, Romano . . .