Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy. That original recipe is made of basil, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts but there are many great ingredients to jazz up your pesto sauce your own way. Just like in this recipe, I used spinach as the base of my pesto and just added a few leaves of basil and swapped the pine nuts to pistachio. It tastes fab!
Mixed with freshly cooked linguine, cherry tomatoes and crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds, it quickly became a new superstar of my vegan repertoire.
I also added a little bit of fresh chili pepper but leave that out if you prefer a not spicy version.
Serves 4 people.
300 g linguine pasta
200 g cherry tomatoes
200 g baby spinach
1 chili pepper – finely chopped
50 g pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
For the pesto:
100 g baby spinach
20 g fresh basil
110 ml olive oil
1 clove garlic
Pinch of sea salt & black pepper
10 pistachio kernels
Prepare a large pot of hot water over high heat to cook the pasta.
Add the ingredients for the pesto to a food processor or blender and mix until smooth (about 2-3 minutes).
Chop the chili pepper in small pieces and the cherry tomatoes in quarters.
In a bigger pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast them for 2-3 minutes turning frequently. Add the chili and cook for a further 1 minute.
Add the spinach leaves to the pan gradually, always just a handful at a time and cook until wilted.
Add the tomatoes, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
When the pasta is ready, drain in a colander.
In a large bowl mix the pasta with the pesto then the spinach-tomato mixture as well.